The Boston Herald ran a report last Saturday that wildly inflated the cost of unplaced, excessed teachers. The opening paragraph read as follows:

The bill for city teachers no principal wants will hit $34 million next year and has become a sticking point in deadlocked contract talks as fiscal watchdogs warn that cash-strapped Hub taxpayers can’t keep carrying the dead weight…

A quick read of the article leads a reader to conclude that the district will spend $34 million next year on excessed, but unassigned, teachers. The headline (“Unwanted teachers cost $34M”) reinforces this misstatement. One significant correction: It’s not a one year cost – it’s a cost over a four-year period. That’s misleading fact #1.

Misleading fact #2: The School Department, it appears, gave an inflated estimate of the number of unplaced staff throughout the period of time by using the high point in each year instead of an actual average. The bottom line is, the numbers are off – way off.

That said, this money needn’t be spent at all. Teachers in this position ought to be placed in full time, real, teaching positions. Our unplaced teachers are experienced, they’ve been trained by BPS, and they’re certified and competent. The overwhelming majority of our unplaced teachers are proficient or exemplary. They deserve positions in our classrooms BEFORE new staff are hired.