Compromise Allows N.Y.C. School To Keep Teacher
A group of New York City parents who wanted so much to retain a 4th grade teacher that they offered to pay her salary have won their battle to keep her, but her paychecks will come from the school district.
In a compromise reached with the parents last week, Schools Chancellor Rudy F. Crew's moratorium on allowing parents to pick up the tab for teachers in core curriculum areas will stand. The Sept. 25 decision came one day after Mr. Crew met with parent representatives from P.S. 41, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood.
To save money, District 2, the community district that oversees P.S. 41, had planned to transfer teacher Lauren Zangara to another school and increase class sizes from an average of 26 students to 32, a move the parents found unacceptable.
The dispute drew widespread publicity last week when Mr. Crew said the parents could not use their own money because that would be unfair to children in the city's poorer neighborhoods, where parents cannot afford to raise that much money.
Those on both sides of the issue were hoping that the matter would not have to be resolved in state court, where the parents had sued for the right to spend $46,000 in PTA funds to cover the teacher's salary and benefits.
Mr. Crew agreed to meet with the parents after a judge suggested that it would be unwise to interrupt the children's education by moving the teacher.
The issue also caused a rift between Mr. Crew and Anthony Alvarado, the superintendent of District 2. Mr. Alvarado had apparently advised the parents that they could donate the money if it was channeled through an official resolution of the PTA.
The district has a policy stating that contributions of more than $2,000 must be reported to the chancellor. Mr. Alvarado had not informed Mr. Crew of the parents' intentions prior to the chancellor's decision to turn down the donation.
At a news conference, Mr. Crew said he would further discuss the district's policy with the school board.
"It was a novel situation," said J.D. LaRock, a spokesman for the district. "But [the policy] could have been clearer."
As is the case in many districts across the country, parents in New York may donate money to pay for part-time teachers, as well as for equipment and school supplies.