Fewer Teacher Layoffs Than Expected

April 1, 2012 Updated: July 16, 2012

NEW YORK—Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in his State of the City address in January that 50 percent of the teachers at the city’s 33 most struggling schools would be replaced. In practice, however, it appears fewer than 50 percent of the teachers will lose their jobs.

The problem is, state and federal grants could be at stake, as these grants depend on the city following an approved plan for these 33 “turnaround” schools, which includes replacing half the teachers.

“Our goal is for schools to hire and recruit the most qualified teachers who meet the high standards set by their principals—not to remove a certain percentage of staff,” Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg told Gotham Schools, an online nonprofit education news outlet. “As that happens, we will work with the state to secure millions of dollars in funding that these new schools need and deserve.”

Department of Education (DOE) spokesman Matthew Mittenthal confirmed the deputy chancellor’s statement as the official position of the DOE.

United Federation of Teachers spokesman Dick Riley wrote in an email: “If they keep more than 50 percent of current teachers in a school it’s not a violation of our contract, but it could make them ineligible for [Race to the Top/School Improvement Grants] funding.”