Schools: No More Money For Subs
Ohanian Comment: You have to wonder how such a thing is possible. People don't substitute teach on a lark. Particularly in New York City. I speak from experience. How are these people supposed to pay their rent and feed their children? Where's the outrage? Where are the newspaper headlines about budget failure?
Substitute teachers are hired and paid by individual schools, which typically budget for a certain number of substitutes every year. But at the end of this school year, and some of these teachers say they’ve been told that the funds are simply not there.
Since Feburary, Connie Winston has been a substitute teacher at Brooklyn Academy High School. She's says its been steady work, and a steady paycheck until recently.
“June 1st came and went and I didn't get a check. I inquired of the payroll secretary at the school to see if there was a problem with my check and she said sometimes monies are exhausted for substitutes,” said Winston.
Over at Middle School 232 in the Bronx, substitute teacher Myra Pilgrim is also being told that the funds set aside for substitute teachers this year have dried up.
“I just didn't get a check. They said there was no funding, and we would not be able to get paid, or I would not be able to get paid until somewhere in July,” said Myra.
Both women say they're owed nearly $2,000 and they say other substitute teachers at their schools are in the same boat. For Pilgrim, who is a single mom, it's been especially hard.
“Everytime I look at my son I think OK, how am I going to juggle my expenses? What am I going to do? I need the money and I need it now,” she exclaims.
It is unclear how many substitutes across the city are affected. The teachers union said it wasn't aware of any problems.
The Department of Education would only say payroll issues are handled by individual schools and they are not aware of any system wide problems.
For Winston this was her first year working in the city school system, and now her last.
“I won't be going back. I'm done. I'm really, really disgusted with the system,” she said.
The Department of Education is working with the schools to fix the situation. Full time teachers, on the other hand, are able to receive emergency payments if their checks are delayed. Because substitutes aren’t full time employees they are not entitled to the emergency money.