DOE bigs allocate $11M to plug staffing holes from vax mandate


The city Department of Education expects to shell out at least $11 million to fill staffing shortfalls caused by its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to budget documents.

An Oct. 4 memo states that schools across the city will receive a total of at least $11,400,569 — all federal aid — “to support temporary staff coverage needs for the 2021-2022 school year as a result of the city’s vaccination mandate.”

The document reveals how much each school is currently set to get to fill staffing holes left by DOE employees barred from working because they refuse to get vaccinated.

All DOE workers were given until the beginning of last week to provide proof of vaccination. Those who refused the jab could choose to either be taken off payroll while retaining their health insurance or quit the DOE with a severance package.

The new funding memo shows that Staten Island schools are getting the most money — and thus have the highest rates of unvaccinated workers.

The borough’s New Dorp High School received the largest sum at $73,610, while its Tottenville High School was second with $63,342.

IS 72, also on Staten Island, was slated for $46,647, while the borough’s Wagner High School is getting $39,854.

Teachers and protesters demonstrate against COVID-19 vaccine mandates outside the Manhattan Federal Court on October 12, 2021.
AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

The memo stated that the schools could use the money for substitutes, school aides, and per-class staffers as needed to fill scheduling gaps.

More than 60 city schools received at least $20,000, while roughly 20 got more than $30,000.

In addition, schools in the DOE’s District 75 program for kids with special needs saw elevated levels of funding for emergency staff, according to the document.

A DOE rep said the expenditures will be offset by the removal of thousands of DOE workers from the payroll.

Students gather in front of Tottenville High School in Staten Island.
Tottenville High School in Staten Island was given $63,342 to cover staffing issues from the Department of Education’s vaccine mandate.
Steve White

“Any employee not vaccinated was removed from payroll, offsetting the costs of the financial support we’re providing schools so they can hire staff for their students,” said spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon.

“This investment ensures our children, especially those most vulnerable, are supported, and we couldn’t be prouder of it.”

As of Tuesday, the DOE said 5 percent of all of its 148,000 staffers — or 7,400 people — remain unvaccinated.

Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island.
Susan E. Wagner High School in Staten Island will be receiving $39,854 to address teacher staffing issues.
Steve White

The department added that specifically regarding its 78,000 classroom teachers, 3 percent of them — or 2,340 educators — have yet to get the shot.

The city has stressed that staffers who eventually get the vaccine can return to work and that the number of holdouts has ebbed in recent days because of the mandate.


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Kathy Lewis

Kathy Lewis is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of Editorials99.

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