Posts tagged "budget"
May 9, 2013
The Independent Budget Office’s latest suggestion for how to cut costs at the Department of Education is to cut a performance pay program for school administrators that the Bloomberg administration convinced the principals union to accept.
Since 2007, the department has distributed about $6 million a year to principals and assistant principals on the basis of their schools’ progress report scores. Last year, 275 administrators — including some who were under investigation at the time — took home $5.7 million, with individual rewards as high as $25,000, for principals at the top 1 percent of schools. Department officials said today that this year’s bonuses, based on 2011-2012 progress reports, are in the process of being paid out now.
In its annual “Options” report listing ways for the city to save funds and raise revenue, the IBO argues that the performance pay might be better off conserved. The annual report is meant to inform city government officials as they head into their final negotiations before adopting a budget for the 2014 fiscal year. The education department, which takes up about a quarter of the city’s planned spending, was listed in 14 of the 80 suggestions this year.
For each cost-cutting idea, the IBO lists arguments that supporters and opponents might make. For the performance pay idea, the report notes, ”Proponents might argue that the more weight that is placed on the Progress Reports, the more incentive there is for administrators and teachers to ‘teach to the test’ and even to manipulate data. Moreover, the remaining measurement problems in the Progress Reports might imply that the basis for awarding the bonuses is flawed.” (more…)
May 2, 2013
Mayor Bloomberg said today that a deal to give teachers retroactive raises to make up for five years without a new contract would cost billions and cripple the city’s financial stability.
“It’s just something the city can’t possible afford,” said Bloomberg, who made the remarks while presenting a $69.8 billion spending plan, the final proposal of his administration.
Retroactive raises for the more than 100 municipal labor unions and organizations with expired contracts is a looming issue for the city’s fiscal future and in the mayoral campaign to replace Bloomberg. Bloomberg has refused to negotiate new deals if it means the inclusion of the raises, which would total 4 percent for the city’s 80,000 teachers.
He estimated today that costs from retroactive teacher raises would be $3.8 billion in 2014 and $1 billion every year after. Raises for all city workers would cost a combined $7.8 billion in 2014 and $3 billion in subsequent years, he said. (more…)
May 2, 2013
Mayor Bloomberg’s final budget, which he is unveiling today, is likely to include new details on how changes to the city’s state school aid will affect the Department of Education.
In January, when Bloomberg made his preliminary budget proposal, the city faced losing $250 million because it had not agreed on a teacher evaluation system with its union. Bloomberg said the bulk of the cuts would come from individual schools.
But wrangling in Albany resulted in the city’s state school funding being revised upward, even though the teacher evaluation penalty was not technically rescinded. That means the Department of Education’s budget might be in the best shape it has been since the start of a series of recession-induced budget cuts in 2008.
But the funding picture for other programs and departments that affect children is likely to be less sunny. Bloomberg’s initial budget proposal included steep cuts to after-school and child care programs, just as he originally proposed last year. (more…)
January 29, 2013
Following up on his promise to detail school budget cuts required by the collapse of a teacher evaluation deal earlier this month, Mayor Bloomberg today described how he plans to reduce costs in the Department of Education’s central administration.
The rest of the $250 million funding will cut come from schools, Bloomberg said during a press conference in which he announced the first city budget revision to reflect costs incurred from Hurricane Sandy.
In addition to the cuts that Chancellor Dennis Walcott outlined in an email to principals on Monday, Bloomberg said he would restrict hiring centrally and eliminate vacancies in areas such as administration, human resources, budget, and help desk staff.
He said the city would also cut non-personnel costs–the costs of running an office that don’t include staff salaries–in administrative and field-based offices by 90 percent, and reduce spending on contracts for services such as youth development, professional development, and anti-bullying programs. (more…)
January 22, 2013
Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his budget address to issue a teacher evaluations ultimatum heard around the state.
This year, Cuomo took that ultimatum and raised it, telling districts that he would again tie their increases in school aid to having new teacher evaluation systems on the books but that he would also reward some of their highest-rated teachers.
Cuomo also set new funding for full-day pre-kindergarten in high-need school districts, early college programs to help high school students accelerate, and extended day programs that he introduced in his State of the State address earlier this month. And he announced that the state would require teachers to clear a new hurdle, a “bar exam,” before being certified to work in New York State.
We’ll have more about Cuomo’s education budget proposals later today, including his answers to three open questions about how he would fund schools. For now, here’s the education section of his budget highlights sheet:
The 2013-14 Executive Budget reflects a continued commitment to supporting improved student outcomes, sustainable cost growth, and equitable distribution of aid. (more…)
January 22, 2013
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo releases his budget proposal for 2013-2014 later this afternoon, education observers around the state are hoping to have many questions answered.
While Cuomo has made headway on the education policy centerpiece of last year’s budget proposal, teacher evaluations, new issues are arising — including that New York City still doesn’t have a new evaluation system. Meanwhile, there is uncertainty over how much funding districts will receive from the state now that aid increases are determined differently than in the past. And Cuomo’s competitive grants program will likely get a fair share of attention, three weeks after he announced that he would be using grants to fund a slate of ambitious — and pricey — new education programs and services.
Here are three questions that Cuomo’s budget address is likely to address:
1. How much money will there even be? That’s a question that officials at the State Education Department are grappling with from their headquarters across the street from Cuomo’s office. The answer will depend on how conservative Cuomo’s budget officials were when they calculated personal income growth, the data point used to determine how much school aid increases. (more…)
January 10, 2013
Changes meant to help schools overhaul their special education programs have instead left principals scrambling for a budget fix.
Middle and high school principals are learning this week that the Department of Education is planning to take back thousands of dollars earmarked to help their schools serve students with special needs — over a budget technicality.
“Students with disabilities are the ones who lose out in this — and schools’ ability to provide what [students] need,” said a principal whose school faces a cut.
The issue stems from a new funding formula adopted this year as part of the Department of Education’s efforts to bring students with disabilities out of self-contained classes whenever possible. (more…)
May 3, 2012
The city would spend $387 million more on its schools next year and hire more teachers under the budget proposal Mayor Bloomberg unveiled today.
But it would also slash spending to after-school programs, leaving 27,000 children who currently attend city-funded programs without care.
“I’m concerned,” Bloomberg said about the after-school cuts during a press conference about the budget today at City Hall. He said the programs are “extremely valuable” for working families but had unfortunately fallen victim to scarce resources. “We cannot do everything for everybody,” he said.
Advocates from Upper Manhattan gathered on the steps of City Hall in protest right after Bloomberg’s presentation, and critics of the mayor’s budget said the child-care cuts would prove short-sighted.
“These are dollars that allow parents to go to work and pay taxes; cutting them will only force more families to seek public assistance and add to taxpayer costs,” said Manhattan Borough President and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer in a statement.
But both the mayor and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn signaled that the toll could be lessened by the time a final budget is set by July 1. (more…)
March 29, 2012
The city’s early estimates of how much it will be spending on education next year are simultaneously too low and too high, according to an analysis released by the city’s Independent Budget Office today.
According to the IBO’s analysis, the city’s preliminary education budget overstates the total increase in Department of Education spending next year. But it also understates how much it will spend on 26 new charter schools that are set to open in September, according to the IBO, which pegs those schools’ costs at $51 million.
Overall, the report’s basic thrust is the same as in the IBO’s previous analysis of Mayor Bloomberg’s November financial plan: Spending on instruction is poised to fall as spending rises in other categories, such as pension and transportation costs.
On Tuesday, Chancellor Dennis Walcott explained to skeptical members of the City Council that the department expects a $64 million shortfall in the preliminary budget to disappear by the time the official budget is proposed in May. Between now and then, significant adjustments are likely.
Walcott also told the council that the department is committed to preventing any cuts to individual schools’ budgets, and the IBO’s report doesn’t affect that message, department officials said today. (more…)
March 27, 2012
Schools across the city will go short-staffed for 15 days starting as soon as next month’s state tests conclude.
As happens every year, the Department of Education is asking schools to send teachers to help grade the tests. But this year, the scoring period is 50 percent longer — 15 days instead of 10 last year — and it’s largely taking place during the school day. The changes mean schools will lose more teaching time than in the past.
Schools with more test-taking students are required to send more teachers. So a school with under 100 test-taking students will lose just one teacher from late April through early May, but a school with more than 1,100 test-takers will have to send eight to centralized grading centers.
Anna Allanbrook, principal of the Brooklyn New School, is responsible for contributing five teachers for grading this year. She has decided to send teachers that work as support staff, to keep classroom teachers inside the classroom. While she won’t need to shell out money for substitute teachers by distributing staff in this way, she is still at a loss.
“It costs me time because they’re not doing what they’re normally doing,” Allanbrook said. “I often wonder if they put all that money into something else if it would improve student performance.”
The tests have undergone changes this year to make them longer and include “field” questions that are aligned to new Common Core standards but won’t factor into students’ scores. Allanbrook said she thought the changes could prove burdensome for young students.
But the experimental questions will be graded by machines, not teachers, and the longer test is not the reason for the extended scoring period, said DOE officials. Instead, they blamed the change on budget cuts and a lack of aid from the state. (more…)