Posts tagged "independent budget office"
December 4, 2013
The Independent Budget Office released an unusually early set of cost-cutting ideas today, including a plan for co-located schools to share staff members and changes to where new teachers would be allowed to live.
The report, which the agency typically releases in the spring to influence budget debates, is a list of ways for the city to potentially cut costs or raise cash. Most of the report’s education ideas have been proposed before, including eliminating principal performance bonuses (to save $6 million) and eliminating parent coordinators altogether (to save $91 million).
New this year is the proposal for schools in the same building to share a single parent coordinator and a secretary, which the IBO estimates would save the Department of Education $50 million next year.
Another new proposal could inspire even more controversy: stricter residency requirements for new DOE employees. Currently, most city employees must live in the city for two years and then can move to six surrounding New York counties and are taxed an additional amount equivalent to city taxes. DOE employees have been exempt from both requirements, but changing that for new hires would bring in $3 million next year and increase over time as older teachers retire, according to the IBO. (more…)
August 26, 2013
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten fueled mayoral candidate Bill Thompson’s attacks on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s plan to fund universal pre-kindergarten, calling Thompson a “doer” and de Blasio an idealist.
“We need a mayor in the city of New York who will take this idea and actually get it done and not base it on a tax that may never materialize,” Weingarten said during a call with reporters that the Thompson campaign arranged.
Since last week, Thompson and his allies have been criticizing de Blasio’s plan, which would raise taxes on New Yorkers earning over $500,000 a year to fund universal pre-K. They say de Blasio’s plan relies too much on approval from Albany and does not consider that the state doesn’t even use all of the state pre-K funding that it gets.
Their first point is a fair one. De Blasio’s plan would require legislative approval, a step he says would come readily but which could be a heavy lift. The New York Times cited this shortcoming to explain why it did not endorse de Blasio.
But on the second point, about the unused state funding, Thompson’s campaign’s math does not add up. Calculating the true cost of expanding pre-K to all city 4-year-olds is a challenging task, pre-K advocates say, but no matter how the numbers are crunched, they suggest that the city would need more funding. (more…)
June 5, 2013
In January, the Department of Education projected it would spend about $70 million more on per pupil expenditures for the growing charter sector, which will increase from 159 to 183 schools, in the 2013-2014 school year. That figure swelled to $210 million when Mayor Bloomberg proposed his executive budget last month, a gap that caught come city lawmakers by surprise.
“I find it totally outrageous and unacceptable that you could be so far off,” Councilman Stephen Levin said at Tuesday’s education budget hearing with department officials.
The total spending plan proposed for education is $24.9 billion, a 4.5 percent increase that includes $19.8 billion — a 3 percent increase — to pay staff and operate schools, and $4.9 billion — a 10 percent increase — for pension and debt expenses.
City officials said it’s not unusual for there to be a gap in projections between January and May budget forecasts, especially when it comes to charter school expenses. Enrollment for expanding charter schools still aren’t determined and some proposals for new charter schools aren’t finalized, they said.
“At that time, we still don’t know the full extent of how the charters are phasing in,” said Chief Financial Officer Michael Tragale. “That’s why some of the projections were off.” (more…)
May 30, 2013
For the second time since becoming the Department of Education’s official data monitor, the city’s Independent Budget Office has released a mountain of numbers.
The latest version of the IBO’s Public School Indicators” report compiles data about student demographics, space-sharing arrangements, budget allocations, principal and teacher characteristics, and student performance. While much of the data has appeared elsewhere, the new report collects multiple datasets in one place.
Not much has changed dramatically since the IBO’s first indicators report, released in September 2011. But the new version of the report relies on data that the IBO says was more accurate than the data it was given in 2011 and updates the facts and figures to include data from the 2011-2012 school year.
The new version also includes information for the first time about graduates of one of the city’s newest principal training programs. (more…)
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…)
April 10, 2013
Hardly any city schools are getting the funding that the Department of Education’s own formula says their students need, according to a new report released today by the Independent Budget Office. (more…)
February 27, 2013
High schools up for closure this year actually serve fewer students with special needs than they used to, according to a new report by the city’s data watchdog group.
But because the nine high schools are much smaller than they once were, students with special needs still represent a far higher share of their total enrollment, according to the report released today by the city’s Independent Budget Office. All together, the high schools enrolled a third fewer new students last year than in 2006, the IBO found.
The report marks the fourth time that the IBO has compiled enrollment, spending, and performance data about schools that the city is trying to close. It also marked the fourth time that the office, which state law charges with scrutinizing Department of Education data, has concluded that schools up for closure have higher-than-average concentrations of high-need students. (more…)
September 24, 2012
An eleventh-hour effort by the City Council in June to maintain funding for thousands of after-school spots achieved its intended purpose — but it also inadvertently created a two-tiered after-school system in which only some programs can strive to meet higher academic standards.
That’s the conclusion of a report released last week by the Independent Budget Office about Out of School Time, a Bloomberg administration initiative to streamline publicly funded after-school programming. The report finds that the city’s simultaneous efforts to reduce costs and boost quality in OST programs induced Bloomberg’s proposal to cut after-school spots dramatically this spring.
City funding for the program rose from $61 million in 2007 to $108 million in 2009, allowing the number of seats to grow substantially, according to the report. But this year, after half a dozen rounds of city budget cuts, the proposed budget for the program fell to $76 million.
At the same time, the city had embarked on an effort to raise standards in programs that had originally operated with offering “safe and developmentally appropriate environments” as its major goal. With an eye toward using OST programs to support academic instruction, the city told programs that they would have to hire “educational specialists” to develop curriculum and lessons — increasing the cost per participant by nearly 60 percent. The increase would required the number of slots to be cut in half, meaning about 26,000 children would have been shut out of OST programs this year. (more…)
July 12, 2012
For years, the city touted its improved test scores, saying that higher and higher percentages of its students were proficient on the standardized exams.
A new report by the Independent Budget Office, which tracked the change in year-to-year test scores of individual students for the same period, disputes the gains the city claimed.
That’s because more than 60 percent of students from a single cohort who were tested from third to sixth grade between 2006 to 2009 on the English language arts exam didn’t improve their proficiency levels, the IBO analysis found. Thirty percent ended up at a higher level and eight percent ended up at a lower level.
“At a time when the city was saying things were getting better in the school system, it looks different when you look at performances of the individual student,” said Ray Domanico, director of education research at the IBO.
Domanico acknowledged that there were some limitations to looking at proficiency levels alone. He said comparing state test scores from one year to the next is less than ideal, because a proficiency level in third grade doesn’t necessarily mean a student learned nothing if they earn the same level in subsequent grades.
But given the data, Domanico said proficiency levels — rather than raw scores — was the only possible metric to measure individual student progress, in an era when education officials are increasingly evaluating schools and teachers based on students growth on test scores. He added that proficiency level is the most relevant metric to the public, because the city uses that data to make decisions about student promotion and admission, and shares it with parents. (more…)
April 27, 2012
Slashing parent coordinators, charging rent to charter schools, and limiting time spent in the Absent Teacher Reserve are among the menu items that the city’s budget watchdog said could save the city hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Independent Budget Office released its annual list of options that it believes city government officials should consider as they head into their final negotiations before adopting a budget for the 2013 fiscal year. The Department of Education, an agency that eats up about one-third of the $67 billion citywide budget, was listed in 10 of the 72 recommendations.
The IBO estimated that the city could raise $53 million in revenue by charging rent to charter schools and save $28 million if it slashed its summer school program.
The ideas reflected policy positions from all corners of the ideological map. Some of the proposals can also be found on a list of contract demands the city made in 2010. But others are straight from the teachers union’s wishlist. (more…)