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Thursday, June 2, 2011

NYC Council President Christine Quinn Makes a False Plea For Ed Funds

Christine Quinn
Christine Quinn voted for Mayor Bloomberg's third term, over the protests of her constituents. She obviously, in my opinion, thinks that the slight nudge in the direction of reducing the budget of the DOE will pacify the New York City public school parents who have been, for 9 years, fully informed by my co-contributors to my website and blog NYC Rubber Room Reporter as well as the other excellent blogs such as Chaz's School Daze, NYC Educator and JD 2718, into believing that she is defending our children and teachers. We are not fooled.

If Quinn was a true advocate for the children, parents and teachers of NYC, she would blast Mayor Boomberg for his 8 years of attacks on tenured teachers without researching whether or not all the tenured teachers who are now fired deserved this fate while spending millions of dollars to the Gotcha Squad, attorneys, and arbitrators to produce false claims about innocent people; would blast Bloomberg and Klein, Black and Walcott for violating Public Services Law, Civil Rights and due process of children, parents and everyone else in order to control the factory formerly known as the New York City public school system.

There is money in NYC to keep every teacher in his/her job. Do away with the people at Tweed, execpt for 5 people: An accountant, a Federal program compliance officer, a special education director, a Records Access Director, and an elected Chancellor WITH a contract who can be fired if he/she doesnt do the job.
Why do our teachers have to be the fall guys for the Deutsche Bank scandal, the CityTime scandal, the special education and medicare fraud, etc? We are angry and we are not going to take it anymore.

Ms. Quinn, you lost our vote years ago.

Betsy Combier, Editor

June 1, 2011, 1:18 pm
Quinn Proposes $75 Million in Education Budget Cuts

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn on Wednesday proposed roughly $75 million in cuts to the Department of Education’s budget to help avert the elimination of 6,100 teachers through layoffs and attrition for the school year that begins in the fall.

It was Ms. Quinn’s first specific pronouncement on education spending since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proposed balancing the city’s budget by reducing the number of teachers the city employs, and it sends a clear signal that there are still big differences between the City Council and City Hall over how to bridge the city’s multibillion-dollar budget gap.

Ms. Quinn plan includes cuts to technology and transportation spending, and to the Education Department’s public-information and legal staff. In addition, it recommends reducing the number of people assigned to the Office of Family Information and Action, which has been the target of much criticism because of its flaws in running the elections for parent representatives in citywide councils that play a role in decisions like school rezoning, construction and budgets.

"We’re not just saying, ‘No,’ ” Ms. Quinn said in an interview. “We’re saying, ‘No to layoffs and here are our suggestions.’ ”

Ms. Quinn’s office distributed a statement with her suggested cuts just as Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott had begun his testimony at a City Council hearing on department’s general expenses, where he offered a staunch defense of the spending decisions it has made and once again affirmed the need for teacher layoffs.

Ms. Quinn acknowledged that $75 million is only a fraction of what is needed to avoid the cuts to the city’s teaching staff, but, she said, “that’s a step in the right direction.” She said the Council would continue to scrutinize the budgets of other city agencies to come up with additional savings, but she did not ultimately make the promise that many parents and teachers had been hoping she would make: to pass a budget that would not include teacher layoffs.

“I’m going to do everything in my power” to avoid the layoffs, Ms. Quinn said. “I’m going to fight as hard as I can.”

Here are Ms. Quinn’s proposed cuts:

The Department of Education spends $8 million every year in teacher recruitment. She proposed canceling the effort and spending half of that to train existing teachers on licensed specialties, like special education. Savings = $4 million.

Cutting three positions at the department’s press office. Savings = $280,000.

Eliminating 10 positions at the Office of Family Information and Action. Savings = $940,000.

Merging the Office of Family Information and Action with the Office of Public Affairs, which would enable the elimination of two additional positions. Savings = $375,000.

Reorganizing school-support staff by realigning responsibilities among the schools’ 60 network teams, which employ 12 to 14 people apiece, and reducing the number school superintendents, who make an average of $200,000 a year, by 10. Savings = $2 million.

Reducing what Ms. Quinn characterized as an overestimation of the projected growth in expenses in areas like special education, contract payments and prekindergarten, which would free up $35 million in the next fiscal year.

Scheduling a 1 percent cut to the pupil-transportation budget. Savings = $7.5 million.

Reducing legal-service contracts and possibly the number of workers in the Education Department’s legal office, which employs 133 people. Savings = $3 million.

Enacting a more modest increase in technology spending — 30 percent over the current amount, instead of 76 percent, as the department has proposed — and cutting technology contracts to fiscal 2010 levels. Savings = $13.2 million.

Use more in-house training to reduce the cost of hiring professional-development contractors. Savings = $9 million.

A Department of Education official rebutted some of Ms. Quinn’s suggestions, noting that school district superintendents are mandated by law. the official acknowledged that the department employs perhaps five high-school superintendents over the legal requirement; Ms. Quinn is proposing to cut 10 superintendents.

The official, who requested anonymity so as to speak candidly about Ms. Quinn’s proposal, pointed out that the press office eliminated two positions two weeks ago, and that some people on its staff are not assigned to media relations. One employee, for example, staffs Panel for Educational Policy meetings, among other duties. As for her proposed cuts to projected spending, the official said it comes with great risk because the department could run out of money in the middle of the year to finance a certain expense.
the complete coverage prepared for Friday’s print editions.

How the Council Members Voted [Chart and Map]

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