New York hates to be behind its Hudson River rival ? New Jersey ? but new Empire State Governor Andrew Cuomo is doing a nice job keeping up with his Garden State comrade-in-chief Chris Christie with education blasts.?
This morning, Cuomo makes an appearance on the front page of the New York Times,?uttering?unsympathetic comments about ?the salaries of some of ?New York's school superintendents; most notably, one Long Island schools chief, who makes $386,868 (over $500,000 with?benefits!) overseeing just 6,687 students and a budget of just over $176 million; that's?more than double the governor's?salary but a bit less than the $133 billion that the Governor oversees.? Said the Times:
I understand that they sometimes have to manage budgets, and sometimes the budgets are difficult.? But why they get paid more than the governor of the state I really don't understand.
In fact, according to the Times, Cuomo,? who will be making $179,000 to run New York State, is earning less than?more than 40 percent of the state's 700+ school superintendents.? (Christie is proposing a $175,000 cap on most of New Jersey superintendents, thank you very much.)
Whether this "alternative villain" is enough to convince New Yorkers that a 7% cut in state aid to education might just be warranted is anyone's guess. Number 1 in spending,?the state's?8th-graders?rank in middle of the pack in NAEP math tests -- so its citizens may not understand the numbers here.
?--Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy
New York's new governor, Andrew Cuomo, unveiled his proposed state budget yesterday and, as expected, it's not pretty. True to his no new taxes promise, to close the Empire State's $10 billion deficit, Cuomo proposed cutting ?the state's $135+ billion budget by almost 3 percent, with, as the Wall Street Journal said, ?the most dramatic cuts [falling] on education.?
If Cuomo has his way, aid to K?12 public schools would drop by $1.5 billion, a cut of some 7 percent (see here, here, and here). ?New York City schools, the largest district in the state ? and the nation ? with over a million students, would receive some $600 million less from the state than last year.? Some 60% of the state's public school revenues come from the state aid fund; most of the rest is raised locally, from property taxes.
There is some hope that the budget crisis will lead to systemic changes ? to the teacher tenure and seniority system, for example ? but?most districts?will no doubt be?lopping off the heads of the last-hired teachers.
?Mandate relief? is one of those proposed changes. Said the governor,
State Aid reductions are coupled with a mandate relief effort, undertaken by Executive Order, which will lower the system-wide cost of providing education services, thus mitigating the impact of decreases in aid.
Cuomo is also proposing ?competitive funding pools,? a la Race to the Top, that will distribute some
Reuters is reporting that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to lay off 15,000 teachers in New York City in anticipation of State deficit crunches.
Fifteen thousand teachers!? That is probably more teachers than employed in some of our states.
Granted, this is?only two twenty percent* of the 75,000 teacher workforce in Gotham's one-million student system, but the raw numbers are awe-inspiring. Fifteen thousand teachers laid off!? That's a whole city's worth of unemployed teachers.? I can see the tents now. ?Teachervilles?
The number came from a local?radio interview the Mayor gave.
The scuttlebutt is ? I don't know if it's true or not ? is that the education budget will be cut statewide and New York City's share of that would be a $1 billion cut.
One billion dollars. That's another awe-inspiring number. ?More than some country's GDP, I'm sure.
Much of this, of course, is posturing, with the Mayor painting as unrosy a picture as possible in order to win sympathy for schools in advance of the state's budget negotiations.
Okay, go for it Mayor Mike.? But still, 15,000 teachers? ?Does 10,000 sound better?? Five?
Is the Coney Island rollercoaster still working?
?Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow
*Thanks to an astute reader, I have corrected my decimal point error!
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About the Editor
Peter Meyer is an adjunct fellow with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Since 1991, Meyer has focused his attentions on education reform in the United States, an interest joined while writing a profile of education reformer E.D. Hirsch for Life. Meyer subsequently helped found a charter school, served on his local Board of Education (twice) and, for the last eight years, has been an editor at Education Next.
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