Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The mayor's unconscionable cuts and where more than $1 billion could be found

Check our NYC Council testimony about the unconscionable budget cuts that the mayor has proposed that would led to the elimination of 6,000 teaching positions and the sharpest increases in class size in over thirty years.

Also see our proposals below where more than $1 billion in funds could be found to prevent these devastating cuts, assembled from suggestions from the Independent Budget Office, the City Council, parents and other advocacy groups, as well as my own.  Here they are as a handy pdf.


Options for reducing DoE’s budget without touching the classroom

·         $23 million: cancel (or do not renew) contracts w/ McGraw Hill and Scantron for Acuity, or interim assessments.  These contracts end in Aug. 2011 and most parents, teachers and even principals think they are worthless. 
·         $4 million: cut contracts with TFA and New Teacher Project and instead retrain current teachers for licenses in shortage areas.
·         $400 million: cut the projected increase in spending on private contracts and consultants by two thirds
·         $2 million: cut back on the growth in Children First Network and cluster staff
·         $15 million: moratorium on opening new schools.
·         $15 million: freeze spending for central administration
·         $21 million: freeze spending on technology
·         $9 million:  reduce contract spending on professional development by using in house staff
·         $100 million: Charge co-located charter schools for the space and services that the city now provides in DOE buildings for free.  (note: some of these are overlapping)

Total: up to $600 M dollars in savings.

Tap into City Reserve Funds
·         $200 million:  The proposed 2012 budget has a general reserve fund of $300 million ($200 million more than the legal minimum.).
·         $200 million:  $2 billion is currently in the health care reserve fund; $200 to $300 million more could be withdrawn from this optional fund.

Total: At least $400 million.

Revenue increases
·         $450 million: Do not let state’s millionaire tax lapse, and/or impose one in NYC (needs state approval)
·         $65 million: Extend the Mortgage Recording Tax to coop apartments (needs state approval but even the Mayor supports this one)
·         $100 million in FY 12; $275 million to $400 million in subsequent years: Gradually raise Cap on Property Tax Assessment Increases (requires state approval)
·         $300 million: Extend the General Corporation Tax to Insurance Company Business Income (requires state approval)
·         $200 million:  End the Unincorporated Business Tax exemption for hedge fund profit (requires state approval)
·         $120 million: Big Six banks have over $600 million in current contracts with NYC for services – these could be cut back by 20% when students are facing the loss of so many teachers and programs.

Total: At least $1.2 billion, but most would need state approval; more realistic options for next year.

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