A Spike in the Number of ATRs

ATR stands for Absent Teacher Reserve. If a school is closed down then staff in that building fall into a pool of teachers that get called in to cover other teacher absences. If budgets are down and teachers in a school get excessed, they too fall in to this ATR pool. They bounce from school to school, almost like a day to day substitute, but with longerassignments Sometimes they are a week, sometimes a month or longer.

I have spoken to ATRs and some like the set up,becauseit allows them to experience different schools and environments. I believe that most do not like the constant change though. From what I gather though, most of them do not like that they lack proper representation. ATRs do not have chapter leaders. Sure they have a leader in their building, but ATRs cannot become Chapter Leaders or Delegates. This is a problem as some I have spoken to are very active in union politics.

According to this article from the UFT newspaper, dated May 10, 2012, the number of ATRs decreased from 1,139 in April 2011 to 831 in April 2012. That’s a good thing as the article mentions that most accepted permanent teaching positions.

However, as I contacted the NYC DOE Media Relations department, back in December, I came across very different numbers. It was actually by accident. I now consider myself a member of the press because I blog about education. Therefore I sent the following email to the press office:


From:Francesco Portelos<fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 11, 2012
Subject: Reassigned Teachers Press Info
To: mfwhite@schools.nyc.gov

Good morning,

I am looking for current information on the number of NYC DOE reassigned staff. Thank you for any information you can provide.

-Francesco Portelos


A week later I had not received a response so I sent another email:


From:Francesco Portelos<fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 17, 2012
Subject: RE: Reassigned Teachers Press Info
To: “White Mary F.” <MFWhite@schools.nyc.gov>

Good morning,
I have not heard anything yet.

-Francesco Portelos


I was then sent the wrong information, but very interesting information.


From:Pankratz Connie<CPankratz@schools.nyc.gov>
Date: Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Subject: FW: Reassigned Teachers Press Info
To: fportelos@gmail.com
Cc: “White Mary F.” <MFWhite@schools.nyc.gov>

Mr. Portelos,


Mary White forwarded your question to me. There are currently1475 teachers in the ATR pool.



Connie Pankratz

Communications Manager

NYC Department of Education




It’s over a month later and I still have not been given the number of reassigned teachers. In October it was 220. Since then we had a spike in our Rubber Room, and I assume the same thing is happening around the city.

Back to ATRs. With school closings being blocked by anarbitrator, why is there such a spike in number The number nearly doubled in just a few months. I know the ATRs who are against their current conditions are teaming up and growing. I know they wished they had more union backing. Any principal who has a long term substitute instead of an ATR is violating the DOE/UFT agreement.

Feel free to contact the press office and ask them about the reassigned teacher numbers or any other information. I may have been blacklisted.

About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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  1. Have you considered writing news reports under a pseudonym Or teaming up with a reported from a local newspaper who will help with your articles and act as your “legitimate newsman” cover for collecting information

  2. Dr. Joy Hochstadt, Esq.

    Remember only tenured teachers become ATRs, other teachers must find new jobs to get paid; however, all the beginning teachers in a school “reorganization” are all retained; its the veteran teachers with skills experience, and especially high salaries, tenure and pension vesting who get excessed and become ATRs. If no more teachers ever get tenure or pension-vested and are discontinued before their salary reaches $75,000.00 and an entry level pedagogue, replaces the prior teacher over and over again, then the city save 1/2 TRILLION DOLLARS over the lifetime of the present teaching force’s lifetime, and if the currently tenured, pension-vested salary advancing teachers are harassed, coerced to retire, sent to day gulags, brought up on ridiculous charges, prosecuted by corrupt DOE attorneys who get administrators to perjure themselves–and you get fired for nothing. But this is all unconstitutional because absent due process and just cause a tenured public employee has a property interest in their continued employment and accruing pension credits.

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