A New York City teacher has set up a blog and livestream to document the day-to-day of his $75,000-a-year job at a Staten Island middle school. If that sounds mundane, that’s exactly the point: he claims he’s being paid not to teach.
It’s been more than two years since New York shuttered its infamous “rubber rooms” – where teachers who couldn’t be fired due to union rules killed time on the taxpayers’ dime. But Intermediate School 49 teacher Francesco Portelos says he hasn’t set foot in a classroom in about half a year, but continues to draw a full salary.
Portelos has created a website to document his allegations, along with a livestream broadcasting his time spent out of the classroom. He spends his days in “a conference room with a table and chairs and filing cabinets. That’s it. I’m not given any work. It feels like I’m a rat in a cage.”
“I want people to see where their tax dollars are going,” Portelos told the New York Daily News. “I’m getting paid $75,000 to sit around.”
Portelos alleges that he was removed from the classroom after he blew the whistle on financial misconduct by school administrators. The school says he was “extremely difficult to work with” and that there are “multiple investigations pending against him.”
But whether or not Portelos was exposed wrongdoing or was guilty of it himself, he appears to have adequately documented the continued use of practices to which New York City officials say they put a stop.
Indeed, Portelos’s website has become something of a clearinghouse for “rubber room” allegations. One blog post compiled a list of such rooms supposedly scattered throughout the city.