The UFT created the following Q&A about excessing in collaboration with the DOE and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.
Excessing is the process of reducing staff in a particular school or office when the number of available positions in a title or license area in that school is lower than the number of people in the school who require an assignment in that title or license area. There are specific triggers for a potential excessing situation including an unexpected drop in student enrollment in a school, budget reductions in a school or office, and a change in school utilization such as a closure or phase out. The collective bargaining agreements between the UFT and the DOE, along with state law, govern all aspects of the excessing process for UFT members.
People are usually informed that they are in danger of being excessed in June in preparation for the next school year. Teachers must be informed in writing by June 15 if they may be in excess for the next school year, but it is still possible to be excessed after that date due to changes in enrollment or the budget.
When a teacher is notified that they are in danger of being in excess, they must register on the Open Market System for purposes of providing updated contact information and checking their status. All excessing decisions must be approved by the DOE. So even if a principal tells someone in June that they are in danger of being in excess, that doesn’t mean they will, in fact, be excessed. The Open Market system has a tab labeled “My Current Status” which will inform teachers whether or not they are in excess. The Open Market is also the place to find current vacancies throughout the city and teachers have the right to apply to any of them in their license area. Teachers can also apply to schools, even if there is no vacancy, using the Open Market System.
As of the 2021-22 school year, in most cases, the DOE no longer places newly excessed staff in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool. Superintendents, executive superintendents (or a designee) and borough central office staff find funded vacancies within their district for all newly excessed staff who have not found a job though Open Market for the upcoming school year. So, if a staff member does not find a position via Open Market, they are placed in a school in their district and remain there until they transfer or leave the system. Read more about this new policy >>
What is excessing? What is the difference between excessing and layoffs?
Excessing is the process of reducing staff in a particular school when there is a reduction in the number of available positions in a title or license area. Notification of the risk of excessing usually occurs in June in preparation for the next school year. After a principal notifies someone that they are at risk of being excessed, the DOE will review and either approve or rescind the excess. People who are excessed maintain their full pay, benefits and rights under the UFT contract. Excessed staff may then seek other positions. In contrast, the term “layoff” refers to a termination when the total workforce must be reduced or there are not enough positions in the city school system in the right license areas for the people employed.
How do I find another position if I am excessed?
Once you are in excess, you should register on the online Open Market Transfer system. You may apply for any vacancies in your license area throughout the city or you may apply to any school, whether it has a vacancy listed or not.
If I am excessed from my school, am I fired and out of a job?
Excessing is not a layoff. A person in excess is not out of a job. You will continue to work and receive your full pay and benefits. You can check your status (Excessed or Not Excessed) on the online Open Market Transfer system. This is helpful, because receiving an excess letter from your principal does not guarantee that you are excessed. After the letter is written, the DOE will review and either approve or rescind the excess.
Do principals get to choose who to excess? Who decides?
Excessing is based on budget and student enrollment. When the budget or student enrollment drops, that can result in an excessing condition. Principals have discretion, subject to review and approval, in determining which programs or license areas might get dropped, but in all cases, the least senior person within that area will be excessed first. The DOE then reviews all excessing requests and either approve or rescind a principal's excessing decision.
What seniority is used for excessing? Citywide seniority or school building seniority?
Your citywide seniority is used—the amount of time you have been working for the DOE. That is compared to the citywide seniority of the other teachers in your school who have the same license as you have. In an excessing situation, the least senior person is excessed. Learn more about how to read a seniority list.
Can you explain excessing for Teachers Assigned?
If you are your first year in a Teachers Assigned position, and you are excessed, you have the right to return to your former school. If you have been in your position for longer than a year and you are excessed, you will have the opportunity to seek another position. If you do not find another position, you will be assigned as an ATR to a school in the district where you worked immediately prior to taking the Teacher Assigned position.
I am a pre-K/3K teacher. What will happen to me regarding excessing?
There could be an excessing condition at a given 3-K/pre-K site. In such a case, excessing would be done in reverse seniority order. Early Childhood-licensed teachers are grouped with common branch teachers, so the least senior teachers in those two licenses would be excessed.
I am an ENL teacher. Can a school excess a teacher if it will put them in non-compliance?
No, schools must meet the mandates for special education and ENL. Sometimes schools attempt to excess a person who is mandated in order for a school to be in compliance, but DOE reviews those excesses and often stops the excessing from happening.
What does excessing mean for an untenured teacher?
Even as an untenured teacher, excessing does not mean that you are out of a job. When you are excessed, you lose your position in your school, but you do not lose your job, your salary or your medical benefits. You will have the opportunity to find another position. If you do not, you will be placed in a school in your district, or elsewhere in your borough if there is a school that has a vacancy or long-term leave coverage in your license area.