This past month, after nearly a year of bargaining, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators [CSA] agreed to a provisional but momentous contract with the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
According to CSA President Mark Cannizzarro, if the more than 6,400 membership, which include principals, assistant principals, supervisors, education administrators, and directors and assistant directors of Early Childhood Education schools and centers, votes to approve the terms of the agreement — there will see provisions for fair compensation, Paid Parental Leave, better benefits and workplace protections.
“CSA members have more than earned this contract with their incredible talent, professionalism, leadership and dedication to the families they serve,” Cannizzaro said. “Those who protect and educate the city’s children deserve the time necessary to welcome their own children into the world.”
CSA Executive Vice President Henry Rubio found the approximately 10-month negotiation process to be brutal. But as a former Manhattan schools principal, he was proud CSA members can now look forward to getting 25 days of PPL should they have a baby, adopt or become a foster parent.
“My wife and I are parents of four children,” said Rubio. “As a dad, I was not able to be there for my wife and my children when they needed me. I had 2,000 children depending on me and over a hundred staff members. I was able to take care of other people’s children, but didn’t get the time off to take care of my own family.”
The new contract agreement also grants CSA members the flexibility to use their PPL intermittently, instead of all at once.
“Members will now have the time to foster a child, to grow a child and to grow their families,” added Rubio. “This gives them time to reinvest in their families.”
Another landmark ruling includes fair pay to CSA members based on the work they put in, instead of being paid based on the educational level of the school or education center that they manage.
“New York City’s Department of Education is the only place where there is this disparity,” Rubio continued. “It’s only here when it comes to principals that there has been a disparity for the past 60 to 70 years.”
A decades-old state law created an index where whatever the salary of a teacher was, it determined a principal or assistant principal’s salary.
“If the salary of an elementary school teacher was ‘x’ or ‘one’ — then the salary of a elementary school principal would be 1.1-percent higher. the salary of a middle school teacher would be 1.2-percent higher, and the salary of a high school teacher would be 1.3-percent higher,” said Rubio. “The reason this is a historic contract is that, while we haven’t solved that problem yet, [the contract] is moving in the direction that a principal, no matter what level, is not getting paid an equal salary.”
CSA members would receive a pattern conforming wage, which includes a 2-percent wage increase on April 23, a 2.5-percent wage increase the following year, and a 3-percent wage increase in 2022.
In addition, principals, assistant-principals and executive directors that are not working in high schools will receive an additional bump in pay to further close the pay gap. The additional increase will be based on how long an individual was at an institution.
These varying CSA members also wanted a clear-cut framework for tenure eligibility.
“For years, the Department of Education had no clear or concise guideline on how an administrator earned a completion of probation, which is a similar term of tenure that teachers use,” said Rubio. “If you are a principal in the Bronx, and after four years your superintendent determines that you will not get tenure, even though you have been rated highly, 30 to 60 days before your completion of probation is up, now can tell you why they are firing you as a principal.There are no reasons — and after they fire you, it’s after the fact that they would come up with poor reasons. This is the first time that people are going to know that these are the benchmarks and this is what my supervisor was expecting of me.”
Members coming up for tenure would be able to benefit from the new guidelines.
The new tentative contract agreement also includes provisions that would decrease the amount of meetings for principals, so they aren’t away from school premises for long periods; provide APs for the 111 schools that don’t have any; announce new placements for APs in new schools within months instead of days ahead of a new school semester — and create new evaluation systems for assistant principals.
The agreement also includes the hiring of APs responsible for the climate and security of a school, reversion rights protections for members who take on higher interim positions, but later go back to a previous position, and a proper guideline for instructional supplies.
“Schools are provided a budget,” said Rubio. “Basic minimal supplies must be supplied to teachers. Pre-[Mayor Mike] Bloomberg], there were specific guidelines given to principals that would say for every student, ‘x’ amount of dollars out of a budget must be allocated to instructional supply based on the student population.”
Educators used that previous baseline number to create the budget, but since Bloomberg was in office, that number was taken out, leaving educators guideline to determine a budget.
“Not only is there no budget for it, there is also no funding for it,” said Rubio. “It’s not that principals didn’t want to give teachers the resources, the DOE didn’t give us any money.
Said Rubio, “They have committed to providing us that next year.”