Date: Wednesday, Jan. 27
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: 400 First Avenue, 5th floor, Manhattan
In attendance: Helen Kaufman, assistant superintendent; Cecilia Cortez, UFT HES chapter leader; Janet Palumbo Katz, Staten Island HES-related service teacher and UFT delegate; note taker Donna Kafko, Brooklyn West HES-related services teacher and delegate; and Noel Lehrer, Brooklyn East HES-related services teacher and UFT delegate.
TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT AND APPROVAL CERTIFICATION (TRAC)
Ms. Cortez stated that some teachers have complained about delays in receipt of their TRAC checks although they have received email approval. Others have not received email approval.
Ms. Kaufman will follow up but needs to know who, specifically, is having a problem. TRAC is processed first through a supervisor, then through Lynn Pasquariello, the HES paraprofessional secretary, and is finally checked by Rosemarie Kolb of auditory/oral programs. After Ms. Kolb is finished, a request for checks goes to the Department of Education. December TRAC checks seem to be late.
Ms. Kaufman said she will tackle this problem. Most supervisors approve TRAC within a week according to Ms. Kaufman. The process can't be condensed or shortened as there is a specific protocol. It goes through three people in HES then it goes downtown to the DOE's 65 Court St. office, where the checks are issued. Ms. Kaufman said she will speak to the HES supervisors to get them to approve TRAC faster.
Those with an issue should send the TRAC number, month, date, and amount to Ms. Pasquariello at LPasquariello@schools.nyc.gov. Checks may have been delayed in December because of the holiday recess.
Ms. Cortez ascertained that no one has been hired as an audiologist in CSE 10. Two audiologists in other CSEs may retire at the end of the school year. Ms. Kaufman said she did not know if these positions will be filled; she does not have the authority to hire new audiologists for those posts.
Ms. Kaufman also said that HES audiologists are under the same administrative supervisors as the teachers in each borough. Jackie Toscano, director of speech-language therapy, is in charge of them collectively.
Ms. Cortez said that audiologists have complained about a lack of leadership as well as a lack of a unified policy. Ms. Kaufman said she will speak to the HES supervisors to develop a uniform policy on audiology issues for all the boroughs.
BAD WEATHER AND SNOW DAYS
Ms. Cortez asked Ms. Kaufman for a written policy for HES teachers when the weather is bad. Ms. Kaufman said that HES teachers may go to one school, preferably one with the most students, and stay there for the rest of the day if it’s impossible to go to other buildings. She said she will put this in writing.Teachers should sign in at one school, let someone in a position of authority know that he/she is there and make themselves useful. HES teachers must still follow their schedule of 6 hours and 50 minutes, unless a school principal says the staff need not stay for the extended day. (Some HES teachers follow the extended-day schedule.)
Ms. Cortez asked about speculation concerning realignment of programs in Brooklyn into "north and south." Ms. Kaufman said this was discussed with HES supervisors earlier in the school year, and they didn't want to do it. Present east/west categorization will continue until further notice.
MONEY FROM WALK FOR HEARING
Ms. Cortez asked if HES has received the money from the NYC Walk4Hearing. The organizers of the walk promised HES 40 percent of the proceeds. Ms. Kaufman said she didn't know, and that Ms. Cortez should ask Ms. Kolb. Ms. Cortez agreed to follow up and report back next month.
Next meeting date is to be announced. As February is a short month and includes a vacation, the next meeting may be in March.