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Q&A on the Issues

Open Market Transfer Plan

New York Teacher
Open Market Transfer Plan

If you want a new opportunity, wish to work closer to home or have been placed in excess, the Open Market Transfer Plan gives you the chance to apply for a position at another school. You can view vacancies citywide and submit online applications via the city Department of Education website during the open market transfer period. 

Under the plan, individuals can apply for any and all vacancies for which they are appropriately licensed. This Q&A addresses the most-commonly asked questions about the Open Market Transfer Plan.

Who is covered by the transfer plan?

All pedagogues including clinicians, school counselors and school secretaries, as well as paraprofessionals, are covered.

When does the transfer period begin and how can I learn about vacancies?

The Open Market system usually opens mid-April and closes the first week of August each year. In 2024, the Open Market system opened Thursday, April 11 at 9 a.m. and will close on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m.

The DOE posts vacancies on the Open Market Transfer Plan section of the DOE’s Division of Human Resources website. Please note: it usually takes a month or so before a significant number of vacancies are posted since many principals wait until after the release of school budgets to post openings. As principals create vacancies in their school’s Galaxy budget system, they are added to the open market transfer section of the DOE website throughout the transfer period. When a position is filled, the listing is removed from the site.

Is there a minimum period of time that vacancies are posted?

The DOE has told principals that vacancies should be posted for a meaningful amount of time — at least seven calendar days.

What is the definition of a vacancy under the plan?

A vacancy is a position to which no teacher has been appointed, except where a teacher is filling in for an appointed teacher on a leave of absence.

Why would a school have a vacancy available?

Vacancies are created as a result of growth (new positions due to anticipated enrollment growth or qualification for a new grant), retirements, resignations and transfers out of a school.

May schools add and delete vacancies throughout the spring and summer?

Yes. That’s why it’s advisable for anyone interested in securing a transfer to regularly check the vacancy postings.

How do I apply for a vacant position?

You can apply online using the Open Market Transfer Plan system now until Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. 

You’ll be asked to complete an online registration form, which involves creating a user ID and password. Once you do this, you’ll be able to apply online to any and all vacancies in your current license area. There is room on the online application for a cover letter and resume. You can also apply online to transfer to schools that have not advertised a vacancy. When you apply, a confirmation page will appear, which we suggest you print and keep on file.

How will schools know that I’ve applied via the Open Market Transfer Plan system?

Each school has an online mailbox for receiving applications. Because schools may receive hundreds of applications for a particular vacancy, we strongly suggest that you call or email the principal directly in addition to applying online.

Once I apply to transfer to an advertised vacancy, what happens next?

Every school is required to form a human resources committee composed of pedagogues and administrators. The committee will decide which candidates it wants to interview. The committee is not required to interview all applicants. The committee’s ultimate responsibility is to make hiring recommendations to the principal. The school’s principal makes the final decision.

Do I need a release from my current principal to accept a transfer?

You do not need a release from your current principal if the transfer is secured while the Open Market period is active (in 2024, the Open Market system opened Thursday, April 11 at 9 a.m. and will close on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m.). After Aug. 6, 2024 at 5 p.m., you would need a release from your principal.

Will my principal know that I’ve applied for a transfer?

Not necessarily. The electronic transfer application system does not include an automatic notification to your current principal. Of course, nothing stops one principal from calling another to get an opinion.

Will I be asked to sign anything?

Both the principal offering a position and the employee accepting the offer will be asked to sign a commitment form called “Agreement to Accept Open Market Transfer.” The document is binding on both parties. That means once the principal signs the form, the offer cannot be withdrawn except if it is done for budgetary reasons. In that case, you will have the right to return to your original school and take your rightful place in seniority. By the same token, an employee who has signed an agreement can only rescind the transfer if the former principal approves his or her return to the school and the new principal approves the release.

Can I transfer using the Open Market Transfer Plan if I have received an Ineffective or Unsatisfactory rating?


Are there limits to the number of people who can transfer out of a particular school?


What can I do if I believe I was denied a transfer based on my age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or union activity?

You should consider filing a grievance citing a violation of Article Two (“Fair Practices”) of the contract and notify your chapter leader and your district representative.

Where can I get help if I’ve been repeatedly unsuccessful in obtaining a transfer or a regular teaching position after being excessed?

Upon request, you can receive assistance from the DOE’s Division of Human Resources or the UFT's Partners in Progress program