Boston paying $8 million for 100 teachers without classrooms

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Boston’s public school system has over 100 teachers on payroll who have no classroom assignment for the coming fall, hitting the city with an $8 million bill to pay teachers who are doing very little.

The Boston Public Schools (BPS) school year is scheduled to start Sept. 8. With classes just a month away, about 100 teachers have no classroom assignment, making them effectively dead weight for the district.

According to The Boston Globe, the teachers who have been “displaced” are victims of downsizing, along with a Boston program that allows school principalsto hire from out of district even if there are sidelined teachers looking for positions. Officially “unassigned,” a more accurate term for the teachers would be “unnecessary,” but they can’t be let go because all of them have permanent contracts under the current union deal.

Despite not being needed, the teachers are still earning full pay and benefits amounting to $8 million this year, or about $80,000 per person. That’s actually an improvement from last year, when about 125 displaced teachers cost the district around $10.5 million.

BPS has about 4,200 teachers, so the 100 sidelined teachers represent over 2 percent of its teaching workforce.

The teachers won’t be completely idle. Rather than staying home or being exiled to a “rubber room,” the city plans to use the teachers for tutoring or other support roles. Still, it’s a less than ideal use for full-time teachers.

According to the school district, 50 of the displaced teachers haven’t applied for a single job during their displacement, often because they are specialized teachers who haven’t seen an opening for their preferred position.

Eventually, some of the teachers are likely to land a classroom spot as other educators retire, move, die, or get arrested, but it’s not guaranteed. The district says eight teachers have been displaced for each of the past three years, while continuing to draw a salary and benefits the whole time.

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