According to Gotham Schools reporters Geoff Decker and Philissa Cramer, an alleged plan to underpay over a dozen new teachers at Fort Hamilton High School has landed the school’s principal in hot water.
The scheme, which has been under investigation for months, could make Fort Hamilton High School liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay to “desperate” jobless young teachers who agreed to work for “low pay, no benefits, and little security.”
From Gotham Schools:
The Department of Education’s Office of Special Investigations is in the process of investigating Jo Ann Chester, principal of the Bay Ridge school since 1999, a department spokeswoman confirmed. Sources close to the investigation say investigators have been digging into payroll practices at the 4,200-student high school since at least April. The school was already under investigation because of test scores that the city deemed suspicious.
Last week, a grievance from a teacher who had been underpaid was sustained, entitling him to back pay, union officials confirmed.
The scheme purportedly allowed Chester a way around a three-year-old hiring freeze, and prevented the school from being sent short-term substitute instructors from the Absent Teacher Reserve – a pool of city teachers without permanent positions.
By using subs for more than a year without officially adding them to the staff, the paperwork hocus pocus also “saved the school hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Fort Hamilton was also subjected to some scrutiny last year, when the Wall Street Journal reported that a disproportionate number of city students are given Regents exam grades just above 65, which is the minimum passing grade. The article singled out Fort Hamilton for suspiciously conferring almost no grades just under the cutoff.
Have you or anyone you know had something similar happen to them?
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