According to New York City public education news website Gotham Schools, 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.