Everything was going great at school for 4.5 years. I loved teaching and my principal, students and parents loved my class and dedication to the school. However, I did not entirely agree with all the ways my troubled school was being run. I decided to become proactive. I became Union Delegate and also obtained a seat on the School Leadership Team (SLT) amongst many other things like speaking up in meetings about safety and lack of discipline. As part of the SLT I noticed we were never talking about the Comprehensive Educational Plan (our school’s goals) or budget which were our main team goals. At my fourth meeting, December 13 2011, while the principal was out of the room, I asked the SLT Chairperson “Are we ever going to talk about the CEP and Budget?“. I did not wait for the principal to leave, it was just that she was not there. This sparked a debate as more and more SLT members, including parents, were wondering the same thing. The principal walked in and when asked she told us “The CEP was due December 1st. I already submitted it.” Now the SLT members, comprised of educators and parents, all have to sign it. This caused suspicious looks from the parents and staff. When the principal stepped out again we started looking for answers. The UFT leader, Richard Candia said that we could have called an emergency meeting before the due date had we known. I found an SLT Support site and with the knowledge of all members present (including the chairperson) sent the following email to the contact person:
MY EMAIL TO SLT SUPPORT SITE
On Dec 13, 2011, “Francesco Portelos” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I just found your SLT blog. Very interesting. I am a brand new member to the team and very disheartened to see that all we do is discuss calendar events. We had absolutely no input in our schools budget or CEP. What can we do? We all just left a meeting very upset.
Date: Dec 14, 2011 7:13 PM
Subject: Re: School Leadership Team
Dear Francesco,Your principal’s violating Chancellor’s RegulationsA-655 and B-801 and State Educational Law 2590-H (15). Speak with the PTA President and Chapter Leader who are core members of the Team with the Principal. Speak with the principal with other members and inform them that you will have to file a complaint with the Superintendent.You can also contact the District Leadership Team for assistance and FACE, the DOE parent advocacy department.
The Team is suppose to be working on the 2012-2013 CEP and budget alignment this school year.Feel free to share this e-mail.Sincerely,
I was very surprised by his response and forwarded it to UFT Chapter Leader Rich Candia and SLT Chairperson Susanne Abramowitz to see how we can rectify this matter.
From: Francesco Portelos <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 7:44 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: School Leadership Team
To: Rich Candia ,Susanne Abramowitz
What do we do?
I believe this is the point where they turned on me and made me a scapegoat instead of performing the job they were elected to do. Had they and Principal Linda Hill acted in a proper and professional manner this would have been resolved back then. They did not and instead started building a baseless case against me. Richard Candia and Susanne Abramowitz eventually wrote false statements about me. See File Letter 1 in the Disciplinary Letter section. I have since called the DOE’s Office of Special Investigation to make a complaint for violating NYC Charter section 1116 False Accusations by a City Employee (OSI case 2012-2251). One of the things I find odd is that, back in the winter, Susanne Abramowitz asked UFT President Michael Mulgrew “What do we do if we can’t get rid of a horrible, horrible principal?” So it struck me as strange th