hiring freeze

Deep Thaw

New York

Major payroll improprieties alleged at Fort Hamilton High School

New York

Fiscal picture, turnaround open more spots for new teachers

A slightly improved fiscal picture and a higher-than-usual number of anticipated vacancies mean more new teachers are likely to enter city classrooms this fall. Two groups that prepare new teachers, the national nonprofit Teach for America and the city's own Teaching Fellows program, both say they are planning to boost the number of recruits that they direct toward city schools. Together, they are anticipating hiring about 1,100 new teachers — far fewer than in their heyday but up by more than a third since last year. The groups are by no means the only source of new teachers for city schools, whose principals also hire teachers trained through traditional certification programs and teachers who are already working in other districts. But their anticipated enrollment represents a barometer for evaluating the city's teacher hiring climate, which for years has been dampened by restrictions introduced in 2009. Then-Chancellor Joel Klein introduced the restrictions as a way to cut costs when economic recession kicked in and the city's fiscal picture dimmed. They have not been lifted, but over time the Department of Education exempted some subjects and geographic areas and now says on its teacher hiring page that restrictions f0r the 2012-2013 school year "are unavailable at this time," suggesting that principals might well face different or fewer constraints when filling open positions this year. Why the change? One big reason is that the city's finances are on the upswing: Unlike in recent years, Mayor Bloomberg is not threatening teacher layoffs this summer, saying that the city's improving fiscal picture does not warrant them. In addition, the city is planning a massive organizational change, "turnaround," at 33 schools that could free up as many as 1,700 positions for new teachers — many of which would fall under an exemption in the existing hiring restrictions.