This Week’s Focus
In state budget, public schools gain $1.1 billion and millionaire’s tax is extended
The state budget agreement passed on April 9 included a $1.1 billion increase in statewide school aid. The budget also extends for two years the so-called millionaire’s tax, preserving up to $4.5 billion in annual revenue, and keeps in place a cap limiting the number of charter schools. UFT President Michael Mulgrew lauded union members for the part they played. “Your calls, emails and faxes, and your demonstrations outside the offices of members of the Legislature helped ensure the millionaire’s tax was extended and the current charter cap stays in place,” Mulgrew said. The budget passed on April 9 includes a hike of 4.4 percent — to $25.8 billion — in K–12 school aid. “In a national political climate that is hostile to public schools, we need a state budget that protects them,” Mulgrew said. “But the fight is far from over, particularly with the Trump administration considering a variety of federal measures that would damage public education.” Read the full story on the UFT website.
Union dues now fully deductible from state taxes
In the new state budget agreement, unions lobbied for and won a provision that will allow private- and public-sector union members to deduct the cost of their union dues from their New York State taxes. Most UFT members who itemize deductions on their federal and state tax returns will save $140 if they are city residents and $85 if they live elsewhere in New York State. Right now, only a small percentage of union members that itemize deductions take this deduction due to limitations built into the law. The state budget agreement removes those limitations at the state level. Union members will still need to itemize deductions at the federal and state level to take advantage of the deduction, but they will now be allowed to deduct the full amount of union dues regardless of income. Previously, only the amount more than 2 percent of an individual’s adjusted gross income was deductible.
State constitutional convention must be a NO
The UFT is now part of a statewide coalition to educate New Yorkers about the importance of voting “no” in November to a state constitutional convention. As chapter leaders, it is important that you talk about the dangers of a constitutional convention at your chapter meetings. At the December Delegate Assembly, UFT President Michael Mulgrew presented a series of slides to inform delegates about the question asking voters on Election Day if New York State should hold a constitutional convention and the dangers that a state constitutional convention would pose for so many hard-won rights and benefits. Please make this same presentation to your members at your next chapter meeting. To prepare for your presentation, you can review our Q&A on the constitutional convention and read the president’s columnfrom the January issue of the New York Teacher. By continuing the process of educating our members about the perils of a constitutional convention, we can protect our rights.
Support the 2017 Academic High Schools celebration
On Friday, April 28, the Academic High School division will honor the heroes of our school communities for their commitment to our students, our profession and our union. Join us as we recognize outstanding educators, activists, dynamic union leaders and community champions who are going above and beyond to connect with students, communities and the union. Chapter leaders are encouraged to attend this event with a contingent of their members. The celebration will take place at UFT headquarters. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the awards ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. There will be a dessert reception after the ceremony. Register online on the UFT website.
Join us for a book signing and talk with Mackenzie Phillips
On Thursday, May 11, UFT members are invited to a talk and book signing event featuring author and actress Mackenzie Phillips. Phillips, known for roles in “American Graffiti and “One Day at a Time,” will discuss her past struggles with substance abuse and her work as a substance abuse counselor at the event, which is sponsored by the UFT Member Assistance Program in collaboration with Breathe Life Healing Centers. She will sign free copies of her book, “Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction.” Register online to reserve your place and a free copy of the book. Please post this event flier on your UFT bulletin board
Salary & Personnel
Direct Deposit for per diem and per session work: Be sure per diem employees know they are eligible to enroll in direct deposit. In addition, all Q-bank employees who participate in direct deposit must enroll separately for their per session payroll. All DOE payroll memoranda can be found on the DOE’s Payroll Portal.
4.5 percent pay increase effective May 1: The salaries of UFT members employed by the Department of Education will increase 4.5 percent effective May 1 as part of the 2014 contract, which set the framework for moving our schools forward and securing the retroactive pay members were owed. All teachers and other pedagogues including paraprofessionals on the Q Bank payroll will receive the 4.5 percent increase in their May 15 paycheck. Members will receive a regular wage increase of 2.5 percent coupled with a 2 percent wage increase that is the third step of the phase-in of the 8 percent retroactive rate increase arising from the 2009-11 period. Nurses, therapists, education officers, education analysts and other employees who are on the H Bank payroll will begin to see the 4.5 percent increase in their May 19 paycheck (for 13 days, May 1 to May 13). The June 2 check will be the first to reflect the 4.5 percent for the entire pay period. All teachers and other pedagogues who work per diem or per session will first see the new pay rate in the June 1 paycheck for any days worked from May 1 to May 15. Paras working per session and para substitutes will see their increase based on the new salary rate in their regular semimonthly paycheck dated May 31. If you have any questions, please contact a salary rep in your UFT borough office.
Summer school application deadline approaching: Let members know that the deadline for summer school application s is next Tuesday, April 25. Before beginning the application, everyone must register as a new user, even if they have previously registered as an applicant for the Summer School Instructional Program. Members should claim retention rights if they are entitled to them. If someone believes they are being improperly denied retention rights, use the “Contact Us” form on the left column of the Summer School Instructional Program website and email Michael Sill at Msill@uft.org. Please remind members that if they edit their application after they have submitted it, the date of the application is reset. So, if members edit their application after the April 25 deadline, the application will be marked late.
2017–18 school calendar has been released: The DOE has released the school calendar for next school year. Teachers will report on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and students will return on Thursday, Sept. 7. If members ask why schools are not closed for Veterans Day, you can explain that the DOE’s policy is that when a holiday falls on a Saturday, schools do not close in observance of that holiday.
Doctor’s notes are not necessary for consecutive self-treated sick days: Your members who are pedagogues should know that they do not need to produce a doctor’s note after taking three self-treated sick days. You may take up to 10 self-treated days a year without a doctor’s note. This is true whether the days are taken separately or some — or even all — are taken consecutively. Please note that the non-pedagogue members in your chapter are governed by a different policy; this includes paraprofessionals, nurses, occupational and physical therapists and other non-pedagogue titles. They are required to provide a note if they are absent three or more consecutive days. For more information about absences, see the UFT website.
Health and Safety
DOE discipline code revised: Let your members know that the city Department of Education has released new, updated versions of the student Discipline Code. Issued in two versions, please share the Discipline Code for grades K to 5 with your elementary school colleagues and the Discipline Code for grades 6 to 12 with your middle and high school colleagues. If you have any questions, please contact your borough safety representative.
Enter the 2017 Zero Waste awards contest: The DOE and the New York City Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability have announced the Zero Waste Schools Website & Awards for 2017. Teachers and staff are encouraged to enter the contest to win giveaways and cash prizes for your school, while working with your students to improve our environment. You can email email@example.com to get your school’s unique validation code. Include your school name, address and borough. For more information on the Zero Waste Schools Website and Awards, visit nyc.gov/zerowasteschools. Follow the program on Facebook for updates on the contest.
Excused leave for breast or prostate cancer screening and blood donation: UFT members can receive up to four hours of paid leave to get a mammogram, up to four hours of paid leave for prostate screening, and up to three hours of unpaid leave to give blood. The state Legislature passed the laws granting our members these benefits at the urging of the UFT and our state affiliate NYSUT. A personnel memo issued by the DOE outlines the procedures for UFT members to follow when requesting these leaves.
March for Science in NYC this Saturday morning: Science teachers and other UFT members who are passionate about science and environmental causes are encouraged to join the UFT contingent at the March for Science on Manhattan’s Upper West Side this Saturday, April 22. UFT marchers will assemble at 10 a.m. at Central Park West at 62nd Street. (You will need to approach Central Park West from the west side.) They will show support for publicly funded scientific research and demonstrate why they love and support science. The event will kick off with a rally at 10:30 a.m., and the march itself is expected to begin at 11:30 a.m. Register online.
Join the May Day Rally for Immigrant and Worker Rights: Join your fellow union members and immigrant rights advocates on Monday, May 1 at 5 p.m. at Foley Square in Manhattan for a May Day Rally for Immigrant and Worker Rights. Show support for undocumented students and their families who have been targeted by new federal immigration policies. More information to follow in the next Chapter Leader Update on where the UFT contingent will assemble.
Trump’s budget guts public school funding: On March 16, Donald Trump took the first step to gut funding for our public schools and divert it to charter schools and private and religious schools. In the budget blueprint he released, he proposes deep cuts to education programs that help disadvantaged students, including reducing or eliminating funding for teacher training, after-school and summer-enrichment programs and aid to low-income college students. While punishing our neighborhood public schools, the president found $1.4 billion to fulfill his education campaign promise: Expanding charter schools, private-school vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public schools. Read the full news story. The president’s blueprint is the opening salvo in what will be a lengthy process as the U.S. Congress hashes out a final budget. Urge your members to join the #PublicSchoolProud campaign and be part of the fight for our public schools in the weeks and months ahead.
Learn the facts about private school vouchers: President Donald Trump is intent on shifting funding from public schools to private, parochial and charter schools through vouchers or backdoor vouchers in the form of tax credits. Learn the facts about vouchers and talk to your members about the issue. Read this Q&A on Vouchers from the New York Teacher and this AFT fact sheet called “Private School Vouchers Don’t Help Kids.” And watch the two-minute video “The ugly racial history of private school vouchers” on the UFT website.
New diploma option for students with disabilities: In June 2016, the Regents created a new local diploma option for students with disabilities who did not meet graduation standards through the existing appeal and safety net options. The original regulation, which automatically required superintendents to make a determination for every student who was eligible, was subsequently modified. As of Oct.18, 2016, superintendents may only determine that an eligible student has met the requirements for this option upon receipt of a written request from an eligible student’s parent or guardian. Read more information about the new diploma option on the UFT website.
New streamlined process for multiple-day testing: Schools are no longer required to request prior approval from the State Education Department for multiple-day testing administration, an accommodation that permits students to take an assessment over multiple days if they are unable to complete an assessment in a single day or testing session because of their disability. Instead, schools can now complete and submit an Assurance of Multiple Day Administration of State Assessments for each student whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 plan recommends multiple-day administration of state assessments. This accommodation can also be considered for students with disabilities who have extended time as a testing accommodation and are scheduled to take more than one state assessment in a single day. Read more information about this revised procedure, including considerations for determining students’ needs; documentation requirements; and procedures for implementing assessments over multiple days.
‘Tests read’ accommodation now allowed for NYSESLAT: Beginning with the 2017 test administration, students with disabilities who have the “tests read” accommodation on their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Section 504 accommodation plans (504 plans) must be provided with this accommodation for all sections of the test. In prior years, the listening, speaking and writing sections of the NYSESLAT could be read to students (by way of human reader or technology), but the reading section could not. Now, all sections of the NYSESLAT can be read aloud to students with disabilities who have this accommodation. See additional information on considerations for recommending the “tests read” accommodation and documenting the recommendation in an IEP or 504 plan.
New members should maintain careful records: Encourage new members in your school to carefully review and save the emails they receive from the DOE’s Department of Human Resources, which record all current information concerning an employee’s New York City license/appointment and New York State certification. Most important, members should check that it is accurate. If not, they should follow the DOE’s instructions right away to correct any errors in the record.
New Member Handbook available online: New members should be aware that the New Member Handbook is available on the UFT website to help them navigate the beginning years of their careers. This guide provides important information about salary, benefits, professional growth and the ways the union is available to assist them.
Help with funding classroom projects: Encourage new teachers to explore innovative ideas for classroom projects and let them know about the many funding options available to them. The UFT has scoured the internet and other sources for grants, awards and free things available to New York City public school educators. Teachers looking for resources for classroom projects can find them in the funding classroom projects section of the UFT website.
English Language Learners
Guidance for 2017 NYSESLAT accommodations: Make sure that educators of English language learners in your school know that the state Education Department has released guidance that changes the allowable accommodations for students with IEPs or 504s taking the NYSESLAT. Effective immediately, if a student is permitted to have tests read to him or her on other standardized tests, that student will also be permitted to have the reading section of the NYSESLAT read aloud. For more information, read the NYSED memo or see additional information on the DOE website.
Professional Learning Opportunities
Important CTE conference this coming week: Do you have a CTE program at your school? Are you interested in having a CTE program? If you answer yes to either of these questions, please come out to the Association for Career and Technical Education Region I Conference: Mapping the Routes to Career Pathway Success, which is taking place between April 26-28 at UFT headquarters in lower Manhattan. More than 200 CTE professionals from across the region will gather to engage in professional learning and share best practices. CTE teachers and guidance counselors are particularly encouraged to attend. Read the flier for an overview of the conference. Member registration rates apply. Review registration information on the ACTE website. Please register online.
Sign up for the Sustainability Showcase: All members are invited to attend the DOE Office of Sustainability’s inaugural Sustainability Showcase on Monday, May 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. This event celebrates school efforts, actions, innovation and dedication to sustainability across grade levels, topics and leadership. Participants will survey the extraordinary things that students, teachers, administrators, building staff and partner organizations are working on to pave the way to greater school sustainability. The Sustainability Showcase will include an expo, awards, green team video contest, workshops and raffle prizes. You can register online for the showcase. Here is flier to post on your UFT bulletin board.
CELF Summer Institute in Education for Sustainability: The Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation’s four-day Summer Institute in Education for Sustainability for K–12 Educators is offering a transformative professional development experience of hands-on workshops and presentations on activating change in schools. The Summer Institute will help participants incorporate sustainability concepts into existing curriculum by modeling engaging activities and providing extensive case studies. Institute participants are eligible to receive 30 CTLE hours. Ten full scholarships are available for teachers courtesy of the DOE Office of Sustainability. For more information about the Summer Institute and how to register, see the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation website.
Registration is open for spring high school workshops: High school educators can take advantage of spring workshops to develop professionally and earn CTLE hours. All workshops will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Some of these workshops are open to middle school teachers. Here is a list of workshops from which to choose. Participants can register online or download the mail-in coupon.
Teaching and Learning
Lessons about math: The AFT’s Share My Lesson website has curated brand-new lesson plans and class activities for Mathematics Awareness Month. Elementary educators can access a resource pack focusing on breaking down the problem-solving process. Middle school students can learn to solve unit rate problems including those involving unit pricing and constant speed. High school students can elicit prior knowledge for solving quadratic equations by factoring and graphing. You can find many more lessons and webinars on the Share My Lesson website.
Seminar on sports-related injuries: All members are invited to “We Can Work it Out: Exercise and Sports-Related Injuries,” a seminar presented by David Rosenblum, MD and Gary Schwartz, MD, who are pain management experts from AABP Integrative Pain Care. This event will take place on Tuesday, May 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, rooms D and E. Topics to be discussed include injuries that most commonly occur during athletic sports or exercise; how to prevent injuries and effective methods of treatment; and a question-and-answer period to follow. To register for this event, participants should call Christine Jittan at 212-539-0667.
Last chance to register for the Spring Education Conference: The UFT Spring Education Conference celebrates, supports and inspires our work as public school educators. It is also the occasion where the union bestows its most prestigious award, named after John Dewey, a giant of American intellectual, cultural, academic and political life. Rev. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina NAACP and the architect of the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, will receive the John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education at the union’s Spring Education Conference on May 13 at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. We will honor Rev. Barber for his success in bringing together thousands of people from all economic backgrounds and ethnicities in nonviolent protest against voter suppression, cuts to public education and social programs, gun violence and environmental harms. Encourage your members join us and show solidarity for the work we do in public schools and our legacy of support for educational equity, social and economic justice. For more information on registration, see the event listing as well as the news article on the UFT website. The deadline to register has been extended to Tuesday, April 25.
Last chance to register for the UFT’s 5K Family Run/Walk: The UFT’s fourth annual 5K Family Run/Walk takes place on Saturday, May 6 in Coney Island. Please encourage your members to bring their colleagues, family and friends and join us for this untimed walk/race sponsored by the UFT Middle School Division. The Family Run/Walk is fun, healthy and great for building friendships among members of your school community. The proceeds will go to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. Beginning at MCU Park in Coney Island, the 5K Family Run/Walk will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be complimentary water, snacks, and giveaways for each participant, and the chance to win raffle prizes. The fee to participate is $25 for adults and $15 for children age 12 or younger. You can run or walk as an individual or as part of a team. You can also raise additional funds for this cause by asking sponsors to pledge a dollar amount for your participation effort. Post this flier on your UFT bulletin board. Register online on the UFT website or download the mail-in registration form. The deadline to register is Monday, April 24. Here is a map of the route.
Free workshop for Alzheimer’s caregivers: The UFT Member Assistance Program, in collaboration with the NYU Langone Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Family Support Program, is offering a free workshop on support for Alzheimer’s caregivers. This event will take place on Wednesday, May 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G. Participants will receive vital information about how working people can cope with the stress of caregiving for a relative or friend who is suffering from progressive memory loss. You can register onlinefor this event. Here is a flier for your UFT bulletin board.
How to manage grief and loss: Have you experienced a difficult loss in the last year? The UFT Member Assistance Program offers counseling groups to assist you in managing your grief and adjusting to the loss of a family member, significant other, friend or colleague. Spring sessions are scheduled on Thursday, May 4, 11, 18 and 25 and June 1 from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway. To register for a session, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-701-9620. Enrollment is limited so register ASAP. Here is a flier to post on your UFT bulletin board.
District 75 annual scholarship dinner: The District 75 annual scholarship dinner will be held on Thursday, May 18 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Vanderbilt at South Beach, 300 Father Capodanno Blvd. on Staten Island. Tickets cost $90 and include a cocktail hour, dinner, dancing and open bar. The deadline to purchase tickets is Thursday, May 4. For a list of award recipients and to download the mail-in ticket coupon, see the flier.
Our Functional Chapters
Paras cannot be required to supervise lunchrooms: Tell paraprofessionals that lunchroom supervision is not a para’s responsibility. There are other school-based personnel, such as school aides and supervising school aides, who have this responsibility. Paras are entitled to a duty-free lunch. Please clarify with your paras that they may be asked to perform duties in an instructional lunch for a specific student only as set forth in the child’s IEP, but they are not required to perform general lunchroom supervision. The classroom para of a self-contained class should not be covering a class during lunch. If problems persist or your administrators have questions, please contact your district representative.
Encourage paras to join the pension system: Paraprofessionals are eligible to join the pension system; however, membership in the Teachers Retirement System is not mandatory for paraprofessionals. Paras must contact TRS at 888-869-2877 and ask for an enrollment application. Substitute paraprofessionals may join the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) by calling 718-935-5400.
Los Angeles school board endorses charter oversight: The Los Angeles Board of Education on April 18 voted for bills that would place new controls on charter schools, reports the L.A. Times. The bills would make charter operators subject to the same disclosures of open meetings, public records, conflicts of interest and finances that apply to district schools as well as set new requirements for charter school admission, suspension and expulsion policies, bringing them more in line with traditional schools.
DeVos and Weingarten visit a school in rural Ohio together: This Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and AFT President Randi Weingarten descended on a small, rural school district for a highly anticipated meeting, reports the New York Times. Van Wert educators said they believed their biggest threat was school choice. An expanded voucher program would be “potentially catastrophic” for the district’s finances, they said.
San Diego cuts municipal worker benefits: A California appeals court on April 11 backed a voter-approved measure to cut retirement benefits for San Diego city workers, reports the San Francisco Gate. The unanimous decision overturns a 2015 state labor board ruling that a 2012 ballot measure was invalid because then-Mayor Jerry Sanders didn’t negotiate with labor unions. The San Diego Municipal Employees Union manager said the ruling “severely undermined” state law on collective-bargaining rights for public workers. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure to reduce workers’ benefits.
Saturday, May 6: The UFT Middle School Division’s 4th annual 5K Run/Walk will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at MCU Park in Coney Island. For more information, see the item in Opportunities.
Saturday, May 13: The UFT Spring Education Conference will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas at 53rd Street. Participants will earn CTLE hours for attending the workshops. See the full list of workshop choices. The registration fee is $50. Register online to reserve your seat and follow up by mailing a copy of your registration form along with a check. For more information, see the item in Opportunities.
Sunday, April 23: Educators and parents are invited to the Association of Black Educators of New York general membership meeting from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Bedford YMCA, 1121 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn. The Association of Black Educators of New York will celebrate April is Poetry Month. Refreshments will be served.
Save the date
Monday, May 15: “Know Your Rights,” a special immigration education event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, Shanker Hall, Room B. More details, including registration information, to follow.
For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.
The UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations and exchanges, enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Check the lobby for exact locations. For further information, contact us at 1-212-598-7772 or visit us online.
Association of Teachers of Social Studies
English Language Arts
Hellenic-American Educators Association
Hispanic Affairs Committee
Irish American Committee
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT
NYC Art Teachers Association