Three of New York City’s “rubber room” teachers have earned over $1 million each since being removed from work in classrooms, with a fourth earning a six-figure salary, according to the New York Post.
The teachers are some of the city’s longest-running non-teaching teachers, having not taught in up to a decade because of sexual-misconduct charges.
State tenure laws provide the city’s teachers with job protections that require due process in firing a teacher. Teachers accused of misconduct, rather than being dismissed, are paid to work full time for sitting idly in “rubber rooms,” while their cases stretch on for years. The New York Daily News reported in 2012 that the city spends about $22 million a year on the rubber rooms, from which on an average day about 200 teachers collect full salaries.
The three rubber-room dwellers cited in the Post story, along with one more, collected a total salary of $363,271 a year, in addition to pension and health benefits.
Angel Salazar is the highest paid of the group, making $100,049 a year. The former history teacher and tennis coach has not taught since 2010, when he reportedly improperly touched two female students and made sexual comments to them. The Department of Education tried to fire him, but the case was dismissed when some of the witnesses were found to not be credible, according to the Post.
Recently, a group of parents from the city filed a lawsuit in an attempt to loosen the tenure restrictions in response to the recent California court ruling that found teacher tenure in the state unconstitutional.
“If we don’t have trust for someone to be around students, they shouldn’t be a teacher,” Timothy Daly, president of the nonprofit the New Teacher Project, told the Post. “Thank God we’re not putting them back with students, but we’re forced to keep paying them indefinitely.”
The rubber barons have also received automatic longevity raises under the United Federation of Teachers union contract, and are set to receive further raises in the future.