- Subject: underfunding schools
- From: Peter Farruggio <pfarr@UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU>
- Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 06:34:04 -0800
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- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
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Bob Herbert's column in the NY Times takes on the issue of savage
inequalities and underfunding of urban schools. We in California have been
living with this madness since the Reaganite "taxpayers' revolt" savaged
public revenues more than 20 years ago. Guidance counselors? Music
teachers? We in the urban schools remember hearing about them "from the
Here's the URL and opening paragraphs....
March 21, 2002
In Search of Magic
By BOB HERBERT
There's always a solution to the terrible problems of the New York City
school system. Just over the horizon.
This time the magic words are "mayoral control."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants total control of the public schools. He would
like to abolish the Board of Education and run the show himself. And while
this is not likely to happen, there is strong support for giving Mr.
Bloomberg significantly more power over the school system than previous
mayors have had.
O.K., fine. Give Mr. Bloomberg more power over the system. What then? What
will happen in the classrooms? In what ways will New York's 1.1 million
public school students be better off?
Even as the politicians are wading lustily into the fight over who will run
the system, the system itself is deteriorating. New York's schools, already
shamefully underfunded, are being further drained of desperately needed
cash. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being carved out of the system by
state and city officials who are struggling with budget problems.
The Board of Education sent a memo to local districts this week that said:
"Shortfalls in this year's state and city budgets required cuts to the
board's overall funding totaling $405 million. Over $290 million of these
cuts continue into next year's budget as a baseline reduction. On top of
this amount, the mayor's February financial plan announced a $358 million
reduction for the Board of Education starting July 1, 2002.
"In addition, early indications of [fiscal year 2003] state budget
shortfalls, as well as the board's own structural deficit, create a
financial risk of up to an additional $200 million. This week we received a
letter from the city's budget director instructing that the board submit a
contingency plan to cut an additional $115 million for next year in case
some elements of the city's gap-closing program are not achieved.
"In short, between the continuing impact of this year's service cuts and
the reductions and risks next year, we are facing a worst-case scenario of
losing next year almost a billion dollars in services to students compared
to the funding levels of a year ago."
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