[Editor’s note: Peter Goodman blogs at Ed in the Apple, where this post originally appeared.]
The recently announced school budget cut is 1.75% of the total allocated 07-08 tax levy budget. Half of the budget allocation has already been spent … the impact of the cut therefore is closer to 4%.
We have been cut $104,000 for this school year with another $300,000 slated for next school year. Frankly the $104,000 right now will be worse than the $300,000 in the fall. As it should be, we spend the bulk of our money at the beginning of the school year on academic support personnel (part and full time), instructional coaches and new curriculum materials. We have no “extra money” sitting in our budget for superfluous items.
Thus we will operate for the rest of the school year without the support personnel and assistance that renders our school of 1,040 K to 8th graders safe and supportive for staff and students. We will have to cut back to $0 the substitute coverage budget. This means our teachers will have to cover each other for absences, thereby receiving no preparation period for the day. Or students will have to be split among the other grade level teachers pushing class size beyond 35 and 36 in many instances. We will have to shorten the term of the part-time academic support and teacher support personnel, leaving our most at-risk students in the lurch and our new teachers without support at the crucial end of the school year. We will have lunch periods covered by administration and teacher volunteers because the four substitute school aides will have to be let go for lack of funds.
School after school is scrambling … cutting mentoring, after school programs, summer programs, and on and on.
Will the folks most impacted by the budgets be able to fight back? Will the Bloomberg/Klein media machine overwhelm the pro child lobby? Will the national campaigns of Clinton/Obama/McCain focus on education?
Next year the Mayor has announced $300 million in additional cuts to the Department of Education.
In 1975 the City, on the verge of bankruptcy, laid off over 10,000 teachers … all elementary school teachers with less than six years of service were laid off. Not surprisingly, no one at Central Headquarters was laid off.
Rule # 1: The primary role of the bureaucracy is to protect and maintain the bureaucracy.
Tweed is busy burnishing their edifice … the Bloomberg/Klein national model … they have successfully convinced the foundation establishment, and come hell or high water, will do nothing to erode what they have created. The boatloads of dollars used to create ARIS or interim assessments or Support Organizations are untouched … the dollars are ripped out of the hearts of schools … out of the programs that directly impact the lives of each and every child.
Will the Bloomberg/Klein edifice glimmer across the nation or crumble into the ashes of history?