Colleagues,

Please excuse this late hour email but we want to at least acknowledge and initially address the continuing concerns related to the ongoing bus transportation debacle. While lots of additional issues exist, the most immediate are two:

– Lateness of buses. Teachers and students at many schools were adversely affected today by the late arrival of buses at the end of the school day. We immediately brought this to the attention of the District and they committed to develop long-term solutions as soon as possible. In the interim, however, we agreed to an immediate potential solution. Tomorrow morning, principals at all affected schools will seek volunteers to remain for late dismissal and will be paid the hourly rate of $41. This way, no teacher who has responsibilities after normal school hours will be adversely affected. And remember, you can volunteer for this extra and paid duty but cannot be directed to do it.

– Simultaneous teaching. The Improper Practice charge that we filed against the District was resolved this summer through the intervention of the NYS Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). According to the resolution, simultaneous teaching cannot remain the norm and is permitted only in emergency situations, must be limited, and must be temporary. In our case right now, it is permitted to include only those students for whom bus transportation is not yet made available. That’s a total of 317 students districtwide – not counting the students at the five Secondary schools for whom bus transportation will resume on Monday, September 13. No school principal can add other students to be eligible for simultaneous instruction for any other reason. If they do, please let us know and we’ll immediately address it with the District. Principals at every affected school received a list of eligible students and were asked to share those names with every affected teacher. 

Much more on this and other issues soon. We are in daily communication with the District on these and other matters related to the reopening of our schools for in-person learning. Please continue to inform us about any related concerns and we, in turn, will keep you informed about the progress of our efforts on your behalf.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President