Principals Union Sues After City Refuses to Reinstate Parking Perks

The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union representing public school principals and other administrative personnel, wants free parking for its members, and is suing the city to get it.

Last year, the number of placards issued by the Department of Education — some 63,000 — was reduced to bring it in line with the number of on-street spots allotted to schools. The DOE cuts were part of a broader crackdown intended to bring order to a largely unregulated system rife with abuse, wherein placards issued regularly exceeded available spaces and parking agents often could not tell a legitimate permit from a fraudulent one.

While the United Federation of Teachers eventually came to an agreement with the city, CSA balked at the cuts, and won an arbitration ruling in August determining that the placards should be reissued under the terms of its contract. But as Gotham Schools reports, the ensuing two weeks brought no resolution, and yesterday CSA filed a lawsuit against the city, DOE, and Mayor Bloomberg.

"Nobody has gotten an answer from the City about why it won’t honor the arbitration," a spokeswoman for CSA, Chiara Coletti, wrote in an email. Coletti said that the decision not to reinstate the 6,500 permits came from the mayor’s office.

Jason Post, a spokesman for the mayor, did not address whether the city felt it was in compliance with the arbitrator’s decision, but said the current system should continue.

"For most City agencies and their workers the system has worked well for over a year, yet the CSA has stubbornly tried to hold onto their perks and has refused to work with us to combat misuse and abuse. The current system for the Department of Education limits the number of placards to the number of parking spots at schools, a fair and reasonable policy that we think should continue. We have not yet received the legal papers for this case," Post wrote in an email.

In a press release announcing the suit, CSA President Ernest A. Logan said that, without the placards, administrators "who travel from school to school, particularly those working in the outer boroughs, could be forced to continue cruising around city streets for hours a day, polluting the environment, and sacrificing time that they need to serve our children."

And just how many administrators travel during the school day? Considering that CSA by its own account represents a total of about 6,400 school supervisors, it’s obviously far fewer than the 6,500 placards — or even the 5,000 reported by the Post — the union is demanding. Not to mention the fact that the fewer permits issued, the less trouble floating administrators would have finding a spot. But who cares about facts and logic when you can just yell "My parking perk is good for the children!" and leave it at that. 

  • It obviously doesn’t make sense that they need *free* parking to avoid wasting time cruising around looking for a space.

    Make them pay for the parking placards. Then those who need them will still get them, and those who don’t really need them will have an incentive not to get them.

  • fdr

    And is someone checking to make sure they are reporting this on their taxes?

  • Eric

    I guess taking the bus or subway is to much of burden.

  • Josh

    If a binding arbitration ruled that the city should issue the placards, then the city should issue the placards. You don’t get to flout a ruling just because you don’t like it.

  • They better make it known to them that “free parking” will now be a taxable benefit, equal to the total cost of the property tax and maintenance costs. To avoid the taxable benefit, then don’t park and take public transit or walk.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Of course they should pay their taxes if it in fact a taxable benefit, if its not, change that law.

    But the Mayor’s flouting of this arbitration, not entirely unlike his position on the TWU arbitration, widely applauded by the right wing on this blog and others, shows how little law matters to Mr. Bloomberg particularly but not limited to his labor relations policies. I’m all for legislating more power to the executive for city wide planning but absent that legislation law has to count for something. If the law is to apply to jail Mr. Toussaint it certainly should apply regarding the implementation of arbitrators decisions.

  • Your employer reports your taxable income, including fringe benefits, to the government in box 1 of your IRS W-2 form. I don’t think it’s up to the individual principal whether to report it or not.

  • jared

    Noone ( not even the treehugging Prius owners ) wants to take a subway or a bus. A car is a luxury, the buses and subways are smelly, sweaty and overcrowded. Even when I go into Midtown I take my car 99% of the time and it is a 1993 Ford beater but it is more comfortable, and I can blast my music as loud as I want. What Bloomy who does drive around town should do is take away all the “Offical” vehicles reserved parking spots, its total BS and then they’re are about 50,000 spots reserved for the press. Its BS. But I will doublepark if I have to and if I get caught (maybe 5% of the time) I’ll pay the fine but it is worth it to have my car. And it may not be ecofriendly and green but when you make a subway car that is comfortable and uncrowded then I’ll reconsider.

  • Noone ( not even the treehugging Prius owners ) wants to take a subway or a bus.

    Please, speak for yourself, Jared. Unless you have some kind of poll data, you’re just demonstrating your own ignorance.

  • Jared: “Noone ( not even the treehugging Prius owners ) wants to take a subway or a bus.”

    Having been car-free all of my adult life, I love it when people tell me I don’t exist.

  • MrManhattan

    Except for 2 1/2 years in the third world, I haven’t had a car since ’81.

  • Kaja

    > demonstrating your own ignorance.

    he’s not demonstrating his ignorance, he’s trolling. Streetsbloggers are fairly earnest and thus easily trolled; try not to take the bait. (Also, be less earnest.)

  • BicyclesOnly

    Car-free in NYC since ’96.


Streets around NYC schools are about to get more chaotic.

Reversing Bloomberg Reforms, City Will Reissue Tens of Thousands of Teacher Parking Placards

Get ready for a lot more car traffic and illegal parking around New York City schools. The de Blasio administration is returning to a system that enables widespread abuse of parking privileges, with the Department of Education agreeing to hand out parking placards to any school employee who has a car and requests one, reversing reforms instituted during the Bloomberg administration.

Weingarten Looks to Soothe Tension Over Placard Cuts

Today is the first workday of the new year for city public school teachers, some 52,000 of whom have a little over a month to prepare for a commute without free parking privileges. As reported earlier this week, the city and the United Federation of Teachers have reached an agreement that will rescind all but […]