Thursday, September 22, 2005

Puzzlement Of The Day

See if you can guess what I think is the real story here: (emphasis added)
A part-time custodian at a Manhattan high school was arrested yesterday and charged with using a school telephone to make more than $13,000 in calls to relatives in the Dominican Republic, city investigators said.

The custodian, Carlos Osorio, told investigators that he made the calls at the behest of his father, who is in jail in New Jersey and had asked him to get information about a sick relative in the Dominican Republic, said Richard J. Condon, the special commissioner of investigation for the city schools.

Mr. Osorio worked at Eastside Community High School on East 12th Street in Greenwich Village, where he was also a school aide, officials said. Investigators said that when he was confronted by the principal, he immediately confessed to making the calls, which took place between June 2004 and February 2005, and that he offered to repay the school system.

The office of Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein said that Mr. Osorio had been dismissed. There was no response to a telephone message left at Mr. Osorio's Manhattan apartment last night.

The chancellor's office said that Mr. Osorio had been employed since June 2001 and had earned $34,000 a year in his position as a custodial cleaner. It was not immediately clear if he earned more for his work as a part-time school aide.
If you follow this link, you'll see that a first-year teacher (with a Bachelor's) in New York City's public school system earns an annual salary of just $39,000, which is only some $500 per month (or, viewed another way, $125 per week) more than the base salary of a part-time custodial cleaner with 4 years of service.

It's not that the cleaner is earning so much. After all, 34 Grand doesn't go very far in The Big Apple, and folks need a livable wage. No, I think that the real story here is why does a first-year teacher earn so little (in such a high cost-of-living location) after four years of (presumably expensive) college preparation? Especially when so many N.Y.C. public school teachers have to put-up with this kind of working environment.

And I'm more than a little curious to know that if a "custodial cleaner" is earning $34,000 per year, what does a school's head custodian get paid? Do they actually have a higher salary than teachers?
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