My life long dream was to secure tenure and gradually become a non-productive burden upon by school and colleagues — achieving that perfect deadwood state of zero productivity with maximum profitability. It appears that Matthew Kim has achieved that sacred state. Kim has been paid a full salary and benefits for seven years to do absolutely nothing in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Better yet, this work is performed at home.
Kim is one of 160 teachers who are paid full salaries while their fitness is being reviewed by Los Angeles Unified School District. He is expected to start work at 7:50 am (commuting is not a problem) and take lunch breaks before quitting work at 3:20 pm.
The special education teacher was moved into this dream-like state after he was accused at Grant High School in Van Nuys of allegedly harassing teenage students and other teachers. When the board voted to fire him, he appealed and has continued in the system since that time — costing the district over $2 million.
He has been unsuccessful in various claims, including a claim of disability discrimination due to his cerebral palsy (which requires the use of a wheelchair). An estimated 550 of the district’s 80,000 teachers are in this state where they do virtually nothing as the system moves at a glacial pace.
Obviously, this system is the fault of the superintendent and the Board members, who have utterly failed to maintain an efficient system of review. What is incredible is that these members voted to fire 5000 teachers due to budget shortfalls but allow the system to continue to spend millions on individual teachers like Kim in salaries and legal costs out of sheer incompetence. These teachers will not be able to linger in the system because their positions are being cut as opposed to being fired for individual misconduct. So, the teachers accused of wrongdoing are allowed to remain on the payroll for years without work while good teachers are kicked out onto the street.
This obviously has nothing to do with due process. Other cities review such cases in a relatively short time and resolve these cases. These are not death penalty cases — even though Mr. Kim’s case is now approaching the average time for a death row appeal.
The Los Angeles Times study below should result in new openings in the Superintendent’s office and board member positions. While the estimated $10 million a year may be viewed as too trivial to worry about by the management, it would go along way for the teachers and students in this cash-strapped system.
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