Wednesday, November 19, 2008

School Budget Cuts Presented at Panel for Educational Policy

Monday's Panel for Educational Policy meeting included a briefing on the budget cuts. Click here for the full Powerpoint. At Mayor Mike Bloomberg's insistence, the cuts must total $180 million for this year and $385 million for next year. Most of the cuts will come directly out of school budgets.

After the presentation, I asked for cuts to be made in the new standardized testing program, specifically for teachers to do their own interim assessments instead of the $26 million scheduled to be spent and for elimination of the pilot program extending testing in the K-2 grades. I also asked for the Chancellor's large press office to be shuttered and instead have DOE senior leaders speak directly to the press without intermediaries. As you'd expect, Chancellor Klein dismissed these suggestions. It has become increasingly clear that no matter what cuts are required, the Bloomberg administration's massive ramp up in standardized testing will go largely untouched. For more ideas on better places to cut see our list compiled here.

Here is how the cuts were presented by DOE -- in five "buckets":

Bucket 1: $40 million* for a 6% cut to Central and Field
  • Includes reduction of 338 positions for 8% of Central and Field positions through a further rationalization of these operations.*
  • Revise scoring of state assessments in Math and ELA, grades 3-8
  • Reduce and/or combine publications in OSEPO
  • Reduce meeting/conference expenses
  • Cancel mid-year teaching fellows program, reduce size of next cohort of teaching fellows
  • Eliminate citywide science assessments
  • Defer OTPS spending for the Office of School & Youth Development
  • Hold ARIS training in DOE facilities only
  • Reduce training in DIIT
  • Reduce consulting expenses for ECLAS2 assessment program
  • Reduce HS enrollment tool costs
Bucket 2: $27 million cuts with an indirect impact on schools
  • Reduce facilities work – will monitor cleanliness and make necessary repairs
  • Reduction in custodial services
  • Reduction in maintenance and repair contracts and related materials
  • Elimination of 137 positions in the trades workforce and management
  • Delay initial trial of GPS implementation (transportation)
  • Eliminate school bonuses for AS and WD on the progress reports
  • Reduce family worker positions (not required) for Pre Kindergarten as revise support and technical assistance for PK in public schools
  • Mandate that schools with ATRs use them as substitutes rather than hiring an external substitute teacher
  • For FY10, estimating cutting less than half of a percentage point from the transportation budget
Bucket 3: Reduce school funds by $104 million for a 1.3% reduction in FY09
  • Schools were notified of targets on November 10th
  • Schools have through Nov 21st to work with ISC/CFN/SSO to identify specific targets
  • Guidelines on reductions were provided to schools
  • An estimated cut for FY10 was provided to help schools consider impact on and from FY10
  • No school layoffs for FY09
Bucket 4: District 75 -- $2 million
  • District 75 schools were exempt from the last 2 round of cuts but this year will take under a $2 million cut for 0.26% reduction to their tax levy funding in FY09.
Bucket 5: Other – Fringe
  • FY 09 cut: $7.5 million
  • FY 10 cut: $12.3 million

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