NYC schools mistakenly classify substitutes, leading to pay reduction

This article was originally published in partnership with New York Focus, a non-profit news organization that investigates how power operates in New York state. Don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter

This is part two of a two-part series produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. You can find the first part here.

Antonietta Auriemma, a substitute teacher at a public school in Queens, noticed something was amiss when she was assigned to seven different classrooms.

From January to June 2023, Auriemma covered for two teachers who were on long-term leaves, in addition to her regular classroom duties.

According to her substitute teacher handbook, Auriemma should have been considered a “long-term sub”, entitling her to the corresponding pay and benefits.

In the largest public school system in the country, most substitute teachers are hired day-to-day, filling in for short-term absences at a fixed daily rate of about $200. However, due to a teacher shortage exacerbated by the pandemic, more and more New York City schools have relied on long-term substitute teachers. These long-term subs are expected to earn an additional $100 per day, amounting to approximately $25,000 more per year, according to the teachers union. They may also accrue sick time, vacation time, and even receive health insurance.

But Auriemma wasn’t receiving any of these additional benefits.

“I was essentially a full-time teacher,” Auriemma told New York Focus.

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