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Q&A on the Issues

What you need to know about transferring schools

New York Teacher

If you want a new opportunity, wish to be 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 Department of Education website during the Open Market Transfer period, from April 15 to Aug. 7.

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

Who is covered by the transfer plan?

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

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

It began on April 15. The DOE posts vacancies on the Open Market Transfer section of the DOE’s Division of Human Resources website. 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. As principals create vacancies in their schools’ Galaxy budget system, the vacancies are added to the Open Market Transfer website throughout the transfer period, which ends on Aug. 7. When a position is filled, the listing is removed from the site.

Is there a minimum period of time 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. 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. You can also apply to a school that hasn’t posted a vacancy in the event that one becomes available later.

How do I apply?

You can apply online using the Open Market Transfer system. 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 submit an application, a confirmation page will appear, which we suggest you print and keep on file. We strongly suggest that you also hand-deliver your resume and cover letter to schools that interest you, or call or email the principal directly.

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

Each school will have an online mailbox. Applications of candidates interested in transferring to a particular school are sent to that school’s mailbox. Because schools may receive hundreds of applications, we strongly suggest that you contact the school 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 and is not required to interview all applicants. The committee’s ultimate responsibility is to make hiring recommendations to the principal. The final decision is the principal’s.

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

You do not need a release if the transfer is secured between April 15 and Aug. 7. After Aug. 7, 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 the vacancy is withdrawn 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 can only rescind the transfer provided 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 at the Teacher Hiring Support Center.

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