FIRST-GRADE TEACHER SAUDA JOHNSON DOCKED $9,700 FOR MISSING TWO DAYS OF WORK AT CHARTER SCHOOL, October 7, 2010, NY Daily News
A Charter school teacher lost two months' pay for missing two days of work, a move state officials are reviewing.
First-grade teacher Sauda Johnson was absent for the final two days at East Harlem's Harbor Science and Arts Charter School, after students were already out for the summer, she said.
School officials imposed a steep penalty - withholding $9,700 in summer pay, the portion of salary teachers receive in July and August for work completed during the year, Johnson contends.
"I worked so hard," said Johnson, noting she'd already taken a small pay cut for the chance to work at the charter school. "I worked - not just 8 to 4, but evenings and Saturdays. ... I worked for that money. I earned that money."
The school scheduled the two days just a few weeks beforehand to make up for snow days, said Johnson, 35, of the Bronx. She'd taken a job teaching summer school at a city public school and needed to start that position, she said.
"It was a serious blow. It was painful," added Johnson, noting she was forced to take out a loan to cover her mortgage payments that summer.
Johnson has been fighting for the money since she left the school in 2009, prompting Harbor Charter officials to say she forfeited the pay by resigning, documents show.
School officials yesterday denied any wrongdoing but declined to comment on any of the claims Johnson made.
"We are confident that the policies of Harbor Science and Arts Charter School are clear and were appropriately followed," said Principal Joanne Hunt.