UFT News & Updates for June 12, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am no longer trying to bundle all new relevant information into a single dispatch. I encourage you to continue to visit enyfaUFTer.net for information related to your interests as educators and members of the UFT. The larger topics are indicated by the menu at the top of the homepage. I am updating these topics continually. I can also direct you to other information when you contact me by voice or text at 347-217-2219 with questions or concerns.

SBO Voting on Monday, June 15, 2020

The SBO voting is taking longer than normal this year because of the logistics of remote voting.  Because of the size our membership the voting had be staggered over a period of weeks with schools assigned a single day for voting.

The day for ENYFA UFT members to vote is Monday, June 15. Please check the inbox of your non-DOE email account for an invitation from Election Buddy. Since they are not likely to be among your contacts you should check your spam folder as well.

The ballots can be viewed beforehand on the SBO page at enyfaUFTer.net.

Planning for a September School Reopening

There has recently been a flurry of guidance documents regarding how schools should be reopened. You may have some or all of this already. Please check the School Reopening page for updates.

Chancellor Carranza has made a special allocation of $10 million to support school planning and programming for September.

 Among the tasks of the school planning teams will be choosing among three models for the instructional program. It will have to be one of the following: A student body divided in half that receives alternating weeks of onsite and remote instruction. A student body divided in half that receives alternating days of onsite and remote instruction. The student body divided into more than two groups with a scheme of alternating onsite and remote instruction. Remote or onsite instruction for the entire was not one of the options announced.

The planning teams will also have to address the need for personal protective equipment, temperature scanning, the elimination of mass gatherings like assemblies, cafeteria dining and the physical education. They will also need to plan for the accommodation of students and staff with high risk medical conditions.

Black Lives Matter in School

A former student of mine shared this photo from Haiti.  Here Black Lives Matters is translated in Haitian Creole as lavi nwa yo enpotan.

The protests, vigils, testimony, occupations over the last few weeks have been unprecedented.  Across the nation there has been a significant movement in response to the outrage over the killing of George Floyd and others to change the policies of policing and accountability for police misconduct. The governor has signed a package of bills into law that repeals a provision in the Civil Code, 50-a, blocking the release of police personnel files. It also bans choke holds of the type that killed George Floyd and strengthens the recent establishment of a special prosecutor’s office within the state’s attorney general’s office to investigate and prosecute culprits whenever unarmed civilians are killed by police.

Among the possible ramifications for New York City schools are a proposal to change control of school safety officers from the management by the NYPD to the DOE. Principals lost their ability to supervise school security officers under Mayor Guiliani in 1998. 

The City Council is offering a plan for reduced funding for the NYPD that includes this.

However, this is not likely to happen any time soon given that the mayor has expressed opposition.  UFT President Michael Mulgrew has also expressed wariness if not explicit opposition. In comments to the UFT Executive Board he stated (as summarized by NYC Educator) The idea of giving school safety back to DOE is problematic. If there’s another entity, maybe. Police officers still need permission if they want to come in and arrest a student. We know, though, what DOE control means, and the idea of them running safety in addition to everything else is quite frightening. We are open to constructive ideas, but back to DOE will lead to bad results. 

New Legal Services for UFT Members

The UFT is offering a program of legal services for all members. Previously to now we could obtain legal services through the NYSUT state affiliate. This involved joining the program for a fee. The new program is free and you are already enrolled. Spouses, domestic partners and children up to age 19 are also covered by this benefit.

Lawyers from the national legal office of Feldman, Kramer & Monaco, will give UFT members free access to an attorney for telephone advice and consultation, letter-writing, document review (including leases), wills and trusts. Additional services for the purchase or sale of a primary residence, refinancing a residence, divorces and other more complex legal matters are also available at discounted rates.

More information here.

Excessing is Likely for 2020-2021

This is a complicated topic. If you receive a notification that you are in excess please let me know. More information is available on the enyfaUFTER.net topic page.

Good & Welfare

Stay safe and healthy! Don’t forget you can visit and contribute comments at the page to pay tribute to the colleagues we have lost in the UFT at the Honors page. There is also a webpage to honor all New York City residents recently created by The City newsletter.

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