Since 2006, more than 1,000 New York City teachers have lost their permanent assignments yet remain on the Department of Education payroll. These teachers are referred to as the Absent Teacher Reserve pool (ATRs). They have not lost their jobs due to any wrongdoing but due to school closings or budget cuts. ATRs are assigned to schools across the city to act as substitute teachers or administrative help. The salaries for these ATRs are paid by the department’s central office and not individual schools.

Many ATRs are unmotivated to seek new employment. The last two New York City job fairs only brought in about ten percent of the ATRs invited. Even the school chancellor has admitted that some people just prefer not to work. While the DOE offers financial incentives to schools to encourage them to hire ATRs, the principals do not always get responses from the ATRs they contact to fill positions and sometimes the responses they do get are half-hearted.

New York City expects more teachers to wade into the ATR pool due to budget cuts.

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