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DoE prioritizes (from the Watch What They Do department)

February 26, 2009 pm28 12:48 pm

Yesterday’s Daily News reports on DoE hiring at its central offices at the same time as programs at the schools are being cut.

Instead of an official response, the DoE ran a lame rebuttal through Gotham Schools. The best part, which GS lets pass by without a word of commentary: while schools were taking (was it 5%) an across the board cut, every Tweed department had to propose a 10% cut. But while the cuts in schools really happened, the DoE spared entire departments at Tweed, and even expanded some.

Offices expanded at the expense of kids included:

  • Budget
  • Accountability (Testing kids, Rating schools – this division should be eliminated)
  • Legal
  • Human Resources
  • The Office of the Chancellor (staff doubled in the last year)

The entire News article is below the fold –>

Bureaucrats and class sizes are up sharply

Tuesday, February 24th 2009, 4:00 AM

As budget cuts rained down on schools over the past year, the Education Department boosted its central administration staff by close to 100 people.

The budget division got a big boost, growing by 22% from January to November 2008, according to data posted on the Education Department Web site.

The office of accountability, which oversees testing and measuring school progress, grew by 8% over the same period. That office has exploded since 2005, when it had 21 people. As of November, it had 89 people.

The office of the chancellor almost doubled its staff, to 16 people in November from nine people in January 2008. Schools have been reeling from tens of thousands of dollars in cuts to their budgets.

“When there’s even a small cut, it can be devastating,” said Marie Pollicino, a member of the Community Education Council in northeast Queens‘ District 26.

“They should be cutting administration,” she said. “There’s just way too many people working at Tweed.”

An Education Department spokeswoman said the head count changed since November, and there was no major hike between January 2008 and January 2009, but the numbers have not yet been posted. As of November, the head count at the central administration, or Tweed, was 2,432. The legal department grew by 8%, and the human resources division jumped by 5% since last January.

The budget cuts at schools over the same period were meant to spare personnel, but many absorbed cuts by not filling vacancies or reducing class offerings.

Budget reductions led to the largest hike in class size this year since Mayor Bloomberg took over the system in 2002.

Public School 361 in the East Village, for example, lost its reading recovery teacher. PS 98 in Douglaston, Queens, lost its arts program. PS 188 on the lower East Side didn’t have money to pay for after-school tutoring.

A hiring freeze for all city agencies was imposed by the mayor in October 2007.

“It’s actually not that surprising,” said Paola de Kock, co-president of the Manhattan High Schools Presidents Council.

“We knew that they would keep funding accountability and testing, even where parents don’t think it’s necessary.”

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