Tuesday, April 08, 2008

How The DOE Can Save Money The Next School Year


We all know that the DOE must reduce it's budget next year by 324 million dollars. That is a significant cut in the education budget and will mean tightening the financial belt for the schools. Where will these budget cuts fall on? If past experience is an indication, it will be on the schools and not the central bureaucracy. This year's cuts of 180 million dollars resulted in only 15 million dollars being cut from Tweed (maybe less if some consultant services budgeted for were discontinued or delayed), not the 100 million dollars originally claimed by the DOE. All the rest came from the schools with some large high schools getting over a $400,000 dollar budget cut. Painful is not the word. These budget cuts caused a reduction in tutoring programs, club activities, and after school programs. Meanwhile Tweed gave the "Quality Review" international consultants a 9% increase in their contract. The priorities by Tweed is very obvious to me, screw the schools but keep the central bureaucracy and their highly paid consultants satisfied. DOE's "Children Last" program continues unabated. An article by Dan Brown in the Huffington Post about the damage budget cuts have done to the schools can be found Here

The question is what happens net year? Where will the cuts be? Being realistic, I see DOE continuing to cut school budgets but hold the line for the central bureaucracy. Tweed might snip a consultant or two off the DOE money train. Just Tweed window dressing but nothing too significant.

For the next school year I believe the DOE can save significant funds if they follow my advice.

First, place all ATR's in schools and stop hiring newbie teachers until all excessed teachers are placed in the classroom. With 1000+ ATR's the DOE is not only wasting talent and experience but is paying almost 80 million dollars for these ATR's to be day-to-day subs or do clerical work.

Second, as I have stated previously, more and more teachers have been removed from the classroom and warehoused in "rubber rooms" . There is probably at least 800 such teachers, not included teachers that are taken out of the classroom and sitting in schools while waiting for reassignment to the "rubber rooms". Of the reassigned teachers, probably 10% belong there. However, the rest are there for false, minor, or frivolous misconduct charges or accused of incompetence because the administrator doesn't like them. How much money is wasted by the DOE? My best guess is 58 million dollars (this figure assumes that the 90% of the "rubber room" teachers do not belong there). That means 137 million dollars are wasted between the ATR's and the "rubber room" teachers!

Third, eliminate the principal leadership academy and the 17 million dollars that the DOE has allocated to continue it or some other principal development program next year. In a year where money is tight, how can the DOE justify spending an additional 17 million dollars on such a wasteful program that results in principals with little classroom experience.

Fourth, discontinue, disband, or don't even start these wasteful "Data Inquiry Teams" that spend precious money to collect data that is of little use to the schools.

Fifth, Severely cut down on the highly-paid consultant services that draw money away from the schools and their students. A case in point is the 80 million dollar AIRS supercomputer system that has not worked properly yet.

Sixth, ensure that the central bureaucracy get their fare share of budget cuts. Based upon this year you can't trust Tweed to fairly allocated budget cuts. Transparency is a must to show that the budget cuts are evenly distributed between the bureaucracy and the schools.

Finally, stop the "Tweed "Gotcha Squad" that will waste one million dollars on how to stop tenure and document teacher incompetence.

I don't pretend to know how much my recommendations will save but it would put a significant dent in the reduced budget given to the DOE by Bloomberg. Of course I don't expect any of my recommendations to be considered by the DOE. Therefore, the DOE's "Children Last" policy will continue as the schools and students suffer while the bureaucrats at Tweed are little affected.

10 comments:

ed notes online said...

How about an across the board cut of all salaries over - say 150 grand at Tweed. Maybe symbolic but if they don't like it let them go back to being lawyers and business for much higher salaries as Klein says they will earn. The NYC school system will be much better for it.

Pissed Off said...

How about getting rid of the F status people?

We have an F status that comes in the middle of period two and leaves before period 8 is over. She spends at least one peiod in the cafeteria and another catching up with old friends in the ladies room.

Socrates said...

You really think that 90% of rubber room teachers should go back to the classroom? I'd estimate it's more like .0001%. These are, by and large, the worst teachers in the city, and you want them back in schools doing damage to kids.

Basically, you could have saved time on this post by just saying "get rid of everything that has even a modicum of potential for success and go back to the status quo so teachers don't have to work hard for fear of being evaluated."

17 (really 15) more years said...

I'm with PO'd-get rid of the F status people. Maybe if principals were a bit nicer to staff, they wouldn't have to pay people to kiss their asses.

Soc- your statement clearly shows that you have never been a teacher. I suppose you never heard of CHILDREN (you remember them- they're the ones we teach) who hate a teacher so much (perhaps that teacher is too strict?) that they lie about something that teacher did. It happens constantly, and to have teachers removed from the classroom with no real evidence, to destroy a person's livlihood based on nonsense is unconsionable.

Chaz said...

Pissed off & 17: I forgot about the "F" status educator and the waste of money on them. I have no idea how much money they drain from the budget but it must be significant.

Soc:

Please do not comment on my blog, your lack of knowledge about what have goes on in the schools is very obvious and not worthy of my response from here on it.

As 17 stated if you knew anything about the classroom and why teachers are removed, you would not have made that ridiculous statement.

Socrates said...

Actually, I've had kids accuse me of things I didn't do in the past, and I definitely appreciated the union's support. One kid claimed that I grabbed him by the ear and threw him against the wall (a difficult physical feat to pull off, were it true). I, of course, hadn't touched him. And in the school where I taught these sorts of accusations were endemic. In my case, the kid actually ran down the street and told the cops, but the principal knew I was doing a good job and convinced the mother and the cops that the kid was lying. In that case, the AP and the principal were my real allies, though the union rep was certainly helpful.

We did have a couple teachers who got placed on some sort of leave or maybe they were sent to the rubber room, but I was pretty convinced that they actually did what they were accused of.

We had a terrible principal at the time and yet she was able to distinguish between the real child-abusers and those who were falsely accused. My experience has been that that principal was the rule rather than the exception.

Anonymous said...

Socrates,
Your comment regarding the "Rubber Rooms" display your blatant ignorance on the subject of education. Rubber Room occupants are awaiting due process hearings for "ALLEDGED" charges made against them by their supervisors. Many teachers sit for months without even knowing what they have been accused of-thus being deprived of their constitutional rights. Aren't the accused innocent until proven guilty?
"There before the grace of god go I..." - Fidgety

Socrates said...

Anon,

Obviously I know that's what teachers go to the rubber room for - allegations. I didn't say anything contrary to that. I'm saying that the ones that got send from my school were ones about whom I believed the allegations were true.

Over 50 and No Fun said...

How about getting rid of the IEP hit squads roaming the field looking for out of compliance pieces of paper at places like Packeminanscrewem High School while special ed kids whose IEP's are being questioned receive related services, such as hearing or vision, in the book room due to lack of space??? The DOE is far more interested in the pieces of paper trailing the kids, not the kids themselves. As for Her Highness with F Status, that could be a comp time job done by a master teacher already in the building. Stop farming out applications for early childhood programs to some friend's company in Pennsylvania. The school personnel connected with that program have done a great job up till now distributing applications to the community, gathering them, and processing them right in a school. Why are parents now being asked to make out a packet and send it somewhere out in Pennsylvania? Our state legislators ought to take a very hard look at how money is being spent on non essential contracts such as this one. How about all those no bid contracts? The DOE could save millions if they were reigned in and not treated as if the taxpayers have such deep pockets.

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