Department of Education funding for substitute teachers and other emergency instructors will balloon from roughly $2 million to about $48 million this year due to the coronavirus crisis, The Post has learned.
According to a DOE budgeting document, the agency is giving schools across the city an extra $47,856,477 to shore up staffing shortfalls.
With school populations split up to facilitate social distancing due to the coronavirus, the number of classes have multiplied at most buildings.
Imminent staffing shortages have forced City Hall to scramble to fill spots right up until the first day of school.
“The city is sparing no expense getting schools the additional staff they need, and we continue to allocate additional funds to schools given the coverage needed in the blended learning environment,” said DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson.
While some schools did not receive any of the additional funding, many were allocated in excess of $100,000 to fill staffing gaps.
A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Manhattan, which enrolls about 1,600 kids, received $632,500 in additional funding while famed performing arts bastion LaGuardia High School got $574,858.
“This funding went to school reporting a staffing need, and can be used for part-time teachers, substitutes, prep period coverage, as well as permanent hires,” Filson said.
The spokesperson said that the DOE normally dishes out $2 million over the course of a year for urgent staffing requests and that the number has exploded this year due to the coronavirus.
A longtime Queens principal said that the sudden infusion of substitute teachers into the system can help but is of limited value.
“If I get a sub that has a pulse and can reasonably interact with kids, I’m happy,” the administrator said. “But a sub has no connection to students or staff. And they can’t be expected to teach quadratic equations to an array of kids when they just got a 6 a.m. call to come in.”
Adequate staffing has become a flashpoint in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s drive to partially reopen city schools this year.
The city teachers’ and principals’ union have charged City Hall with only belatedly addressing shortfalls and running the risk of unmanned classes.
De Blasio insisted last week that there would be enough teachers to handle the load with most buildings throwing open their doors this week.
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