Monday, February 08, 2010

The Ongoing NYC Rubber Room Mess

This is yet another disturbing tale from the NYC Department of Education's rubber rooms - places where teachers accused of misconduct are held pending their disciplinary hearings. How long do some of these teachers sit in the rooms, doing nothing, all while collecting bloated salaries.

How does seven years strike you?
Three strikes and he wasn't out.

At the beginning of his 32-year career as a math teacher in Queens, Francisco Olivares allegedly impregnated and married a 16-year-old girl he had met when she was a 13-year-old student at his Corona junior high, IS 61, The Post learned.

He sexually molested two 12-year-old pupils a decade later and another student four years after that, the city Department of Education charged.

But none of it kept Olivares, 60, from collecting his $94,154 salary.

He hasn't set foot in a classroom in seven years since beating criminal and disciplinary charges. Chancellor Joel Klein keeps Olivares in a "rubber room," a district office where teachers accused of misconduct sit all day with nothing to do.
That's right folks. This guy was accused of getting a student pregnant years ago and still managed to stay on the payroll. Then, he was accused of molesting three more students and yet manages to collect his salary and add to the city's pension obligations.

This is out of control. The failure to hold timely hearings means that these teachers do not kicked out of the system in a timely fashion and get to collect their paychecks even if they've done no work during the time they're in the rubber rooms. It's a dysfunctional system that siphons money from the classrooms and costs taxpayers millions. Gothamist links that the union says that the city is grandstanding on the issue and isn't working to resolve the matter. Never mind that the union has no interest in seeing that the rubber room system stops, since all those people get to continue collecting paychecks until their hearings are resolved.

What's most troubling is that the hearings that were held to adjudicate the Olivares matter managed to ignore or excuse his behavior issues and still found him capable of working in a school environment.

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