Monday, October 17, 2016

Spending on bureaucracy climbs while Renewal schools continue to struggle with large class sizes

Through a Freedom of Information request and then a lawsuit, the NY Post finally received a list of DOE Renewal administrators and field staff who work out of Tweed and district offices.  According to the list, there are 71 of these individuals with a collective salary last year of $8.4 million.  See the attached spreadsheet and NY Post article here, in which I say that these schools are being buried in an avalanche of bureaucrats. 
Yet the DOE left off the list Renewal Superintendent Michael Alcoff,whose salary last year was $175,000, as well as the 39 Renewal “leadership coaches” and three “Ambassador APs” for Renewal schools, whose estimated salaries are at least $100,000 each.  When these educrats are added, the total cost of the Renewal bureaucracy is at least $12.7 million.

This contradicts a report released by the Independent Budget Office in May 2015, presumably based on DOE data, that said only $200,000 was projected to be spent in FY 16 and FY 17 for Renewal school “administrative field support.”  Quite a difference between $200,000 and $12.7 million.

Last year, Ernie Logan of the CSA, the Principal’s union, complained thatprincipals in the 94 schools were being overwhelmed with paperwork and meetings and micromanaged to the point that they could not do what they thought was best for their schools.  Yet what I think is most tragic is that so many of these schools are still struggling with large class sizes, despite repeated promises by the city to the state to reduce them.

Again, in their latest round of Contract for Excellence proposed plans, the DOE claims to be focusing its efforts on reducing class size in the Renewal schools, without any specific goals or commitments, just as they did last year.   Yet we found that last year, nearly 40 percent of the Renewal schools raised their average class size, and only seven percent capped class sizes at the nearly acceptable C4E levels of 20 students per class in grades K-3, 23 in grades 4-8 and 25 in high school.  As many as sixty percent of these schools still had classes as large as thirty.  This is simply unacceptable.  While millions are being spent on a phalanx of bureaucrats, micromanaging teachers who are struggling to help their students, students continue to struggle in classes this large.

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