Nothing stops you from getting a job for the summer or trying to teach summer school. You don't *HAVE* to take that time off if you don't want to.And if I had a choice, I rather work during the summer. I have to save up enough money throughout the year so I can break even in those horrible 3 months of no income.
Teachers on 'detention' get full pay | Staten Island Featured Entries - Breaking News - - SILive.com
Every school day, about 100 Staten Island teachers and other staff clock in for work, sit down and entertain themselves in whatever way they can.
That might mean surfing the Web on a laptop, doing a crossword puzzle, chatting with a colleague or just staring at the wall -- basically, anything that doesn't involve education.
This is what goes on inside of the Department of Education's 14 "temporary reassignment centers," where teachers, principals and other school staff who have been accused of wrongdoing wait months, sometimes years, while getting a full salary, benefits and paid sick days.
Often called "rubber rooms" because those trapped inside are bouncing off the walls in boredom, the centers have been around since the 1990s and are holding pens for teachers awaiting a hearing. On Staten Island, they sit day after day at 1 Edgewater Plaza, in a building with a pleasant view of the Narrows. Citywide, the number of staffers in rubber rooms is an estimated 550.
The allegations vary greatly: A teacher who got on a principal's bad side could be seated alongside a teacher accused of having sex with a student.
One of the most recent additions is Dolores Rabins, a school psychologist at Totten Intermediate School, Tottenville, who is still earning her $98,341 salary, even after having been accused of bilking two victims of as much as $1 million in an alleged Ponzi scheme, court documents show.
But no matter the case, just about everyone in the rubber room spends months twiddling their thumbs, trying to pass the time without even knowing why they're there or whether they'll get back into the classroom.
And with the slumping economy, the threat of teacher layoffs and extreme budget cuts at schools, many outside the system are wondering why they're paying taxes for teachers to languish while still collecting a paycheck.
"There's dead wood sitting in those rooms collecting an average of $70,000 a year," said a special ed teacher on Staten Island who was told not to order certain supplies last year because her school couldn't afford it. "Don't tell me I can't have copy paper while other teachers are sitting on their butts playing mahjong."
One teacher, who taught social studies, said he was in the former Staten Island rubber room -- at the Petrides Educational Complex in Sunnyside -- for nearly six months before he was presented with charges of stealing money from the school, an allegation he refuted. The teacher, who asked not to be named, said it was miserable to come in every day and listen to teachers joke about how happy they were to be getting paid for doing nothing while awaiting their hearings.
"I thought, 'This is just ridiculous -- I have to get out of here,'" he said. "I just brought my Walkman and my newspapers and I sat in a corner and didn't talk to anyone."
Worse, he watched the room get more and more crowded as teachers' hearings continued to drag on.
"There we were in a small, little room," he said. "Once you were there, you didn't want to get up because, if you did, you would lose your seat."
Eventually, he was reassigned to another school. But it wasn't easy to get acclimated there.
"You know, rumors fly," he said. "But fortunately I'm in a situation where the principal likes me and the assistant principal likes me and things are good now."
Since he was in the reassignment center a few years ago, some things have changed. The center moved to Edgewater Plaza to accommodate more people. While the former reassignment center housed about 30 teachers from Staten Island, the new center has about 100 teachers from Staten Island and Brooklyn.