Sunday, April 26, 2020


The Federal government is legally permitted to run deficits.  This year the government is expected to spend $4 trillion more than it takes in. That is an astounding figure. The big guys on Wall Street are being bailed out by the national government and the Federal Reserve. $1,200 stimulus payments and increased unemployment benefits are at least something for the masses who have lost jobs by the millions.

States and cities are expecting the Congress and the President to bail them out in the next bailout bill. But what if it doesn't happen or if the relief is inadequate? State and local governments have to balance their budgets by law and are counting on a bailout from DC. Will it come on time to save New York State and New York City's school budgets for the 2019-20 school year?

What if Seate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gets his way and there are no blue state bailouts? I think that isn't likely but we have to prepare for it. Governor Andrew Cuomo is not likely to sign any NY bill that raises taxes on his wealthy donor friends so what if there is a worst-case scenario and we really have to cut the education budget in NYC drastically?

Education advocates are already calling for cuts to administration. This is from Sue Edelman in the NY Post:

“Now that we’re experiencing the worst fiscal crisis in New York history, we need to take a serious look at DOE spending that, quite frankly, does not make a dent in the lives of kids on a daily basis,” said Councilman Mark Treyger, education committee chairman.

The mayor plans to slash the education budget by $827 million, including more than $200 million directly to schools for staffing, the arts and other unspecified programs.

Treyger said he’s planning a hearing to grill Chancellor Richard Carranza on the cost of his central administration at Tweed headquarters and at borough offices filled with supervisors and support staff.

“If you’re not working in a school each day, if you’re working in a field office, you’re not providing a direct service to students,” the Brooklyn lawmaker and former teacher said.

Among Treyger’s questions for Carranza:

What do his nine executive superintendents do?
The chancellor created the new layer of bureaucracy soon after he took the helm of city schools in April 2018. The nine honchos, who oversee 31 district superintendents, each make salaries of more than $200,000. With health and fringe benefits, they cost nearly $3 million a year.

How do students benefit from First Lady Chirlane McCray’s ThriveNYC?
The city program spends close to $10.5 million a year on school “consultants” based in borough offices. The consultants do not treat kids in crisis, but conduct seminars on mental health for staff or parents.

How does Carranza justify his little-known Academic Response Teams?
The citywide program costs about $10 million a year. Several six-figure ART executives, including a principal removed from a Queens high school for poor performance, oversee nine directors who supervise some 56 “specialists.” Before classes ended due to the pandemic, the specialists spent two to three days a week for six to eight weeks coaching staff in schools where test scores are lagging.

With an immense team of deputies and executives, why does Carranza need to spend $1.2 million on a two-month contract with Accenture LLP for “management consulting” on handling COVID-19 issues?

Figures compiled by the Independent Budget Office found that spending on central administration and district or borough offices skyrocketed from $489 million in 2014, when de Blasio took office, to $734 million in 2020.

That’s a total increase of $245 million a year, or 46 percent.

“There’s a lot of money still being spent on personnel who do not directly serve kids,” Treyger said.

How about the Office of Labor Relations? There are no grievances as the process has been suspended. Are 3020A hearings going on now? Why the need for all of those DOE lawyers? Plenty can be cut that nobody would feel in the classroom.

Sue Edelman is also reporting on how the DOE spent more than it should have on iPads that were sent to students across the city at a cost of $269 million.

At least one lawmaker, City Councilman Ben Kallos, said the DOE “got a bad deal,” because laptops are not only much cheaper than iPads but better for schoolwork.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew gave his view of potential budget cuts in a Salim Algar piece in the NY Post:

“We all know there are tough budget times ahead, and new sources of revenue have to be found,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. “But according to its own filing with the state, the New York City school system spends more than $6 billion every year on central administration.”

There is plenty of fat to trim from the DOE budget that would not impact the classroom. Let's advocate for those savings.

Do any of you have suggestions?

We'll report soon on how to handle cuts at the school level in a later post.


Anonymous said...

You mean like this?

De Blasio appoints wife head of coronavirus racial inequality task force

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that he has put First Lady Chirlane McCray in charge of a special coronavirus task force — insisting her work with her embattled ThriveNYC initiative made her perfect for the new job.

McCray will work with Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson in leading a task force on racial inclusion and equity to make sure the Big Apple rebounds as a “better and more just society than the one we left behind,” Hizzoner said.

The mayor insisted that the First Lady deserved her place at the head of the new initiative because of the ideas she generated — defying critics and praising her work with her $250 million-a-year mental health plan.

“In terms of fighting inequality, Thrive has gone to that point and in many ways even farther,” he insisted, praising his wife’s work in “putting a light” to serious issues, making her an obvious choice for the new role.

“I think that’s exactly the kind of mindset needed for this task force,” he insisted of his 65-year-old wife.

Critics have charged that McCray’s ThriveNYC program is both ineffective and ripe for abuse as a political cudgel.

The racial inequality task force, meanwhile, was one of a series of working groups being set up to help prepare the Big Apple to reopen after the lockdown, the Mayor announced, saying they will start meeting “in a matter of days.”

The crisis has highlighted the “many things that are broken in our city and in our country,” Hizzoner insisted at Sunday’s press briefing, calling it a “clarion call” for change.

“We don’t just need a recovery, we need a transformation,” he said.

It was not immediately clear whether the task force would be given a budget — or whether McCray would draw a salary.

The city’s black and Latin communities are particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, statistics released by City Hall show.

He also insisted that the city would not rush to reopen, saying he was “worried” for other states moving too quickly.

As well as “running a risk is endangering their own people,” they also risked it “backfiring” and having prolonged lockdowns once the contagion reasserts itself, he said.

“We won’t let that happen here,” he stressed, refusing to be drawn on an exact timescale of the lockdown getting lifted.

“There is in my mind also no question that New York City will come back strong — stronger than ever. This is what New York City does this is who we are,” he insisted.

Anonymous said...

$250 million a year for what? Tell me what has improved.

waitingforsupport said...

I agree that black and brown communities are being decimated not only by Covid but also the Doe and this mayor's unwillingness to be fair to all.
Cut the fat from doe central. If the mayor's wife wants to be a "part" of something for free, why not. Volunteers are always welcome. Too many damn useless task forces. Cut the fat from the DOE.

Anonymous said...

"Our civilization is going to depend upon a simple, cheap, contraceptive to be used in poverty stricken slums among the most ignorant— there should be national sterilization for [those] who would die out were the government not feeding them”

-Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood

James Eterno said...

See what I get when I ask for suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Cut Contracts, Save our Schools” Emergency Press Conference

When: Monday, April 27, 2020 at 3 PM

Why: To fight the Mayor’s $825 million cuts to education next year by eliminating unnecessary spending on DOE bureaucracy and contracts, including some of the contracts to be voted on at Wednesday’s Panel for Education Policy meeting. We will also address the need to fight the Governor’s new proposed cuts to schools.

Where: Online via Zoom. Please RSVP here or at
The link will be sent to you shortly before the event.

Who: Featuring parent leaders, teachers, advocates, and elected officials

Co-sponsored by Class Size Matters, Alliance for Quality Education and NYC Kids PAC

Anonymous said...

Did you mention wasting money?

The city Department of Education has paid $897 each for 300,000 iPads, plus various services to get them running, for students learning from home during the COVID-19 shutdown, officials said.

The DOE claimed it scored discounts, paying Apple $429 apiece for an iPad model — 7th generation with 32 gigabytes — which retails for $459, and $49.95 for cases that retail for $69.95. That came to $478.95 for each iPad and case.

The educrats plunked down another $478 for each device to pay various companies, including IBM and T-Mobile, to equip the devices, the department acknowledged.

The total cost: $269,187,271, the DOE said. The department will seek federal reimbursement, it added.

At least one lawmaker, City Councilman Ben Kallos, said the DOE “got a bad deal,” because laptops are not only much cheaper than iPads but better for schoolwork.
DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot called it a “cost effective long-term investment in our kids that will be used as an educational tool long after the COVID crisis passes.”

The iPads are being “loaned” to kids, not given for free. A tracking device is installed in case kids do not return them.

Barbot said the DOE chose iPads because Apple could commit to producing devices on a large scale in a short time frame and give students connectivity without WiFi.

But the devices have arrived on a rolling basis, and many kids still lack them.

To date, 231,000 iPads have been received, Barbot said. A total 225,000 students have requested a device, with requests “still coming in.”

Kallos, a former software developer and website designer, said the DOE could have saved a lot of money on laptops instead, such as a Lenovo model selling for $299 at a major retailer.

The keyboards that come with laptops make writing papers and other schoolwork much easier than with iPads, which have small keyboards on the screen.

“For what they spent on an iPad, they could have bought a full functioning laptop for every kid in the system,” Kallos said.

“Instead, we got a bunch of iPads which don’t really create equity when families have laptops and broadband.”

Kallos also questioned the DOE’s $40.5 million payment to IBM to install Sim cards and software in the iPads, saying Apple could have included the services. Apple can remotely configure devices on a systemwide basis, he noted.

The DOE is paying T-Mobile $10 a month to give each student access to unlimited data, when the company would otherwise charge $35 a month, DOE officials said.

Anonymous said...

Anybody see the Post article? $900 per ipad for almost 300 thousand people. That would be about a 2% raise for every teacher. How disgusting. what a waste. Keep paying dues, jackasses. They sent us to die, abused us for decades, never any money, but do this? Almost 300 million dollars flushed down the toilet but I'm waiting 11 years for retro with no interest. Make an excuse for that.

Anonymous said...

Why not start another petition? Your last one gathered a couple thousand. This is something I think everyone can agree on. It's a small start but a great way to bring attention to this issue. Your name carries quite a bit of weight and your reputation as a fighter for teachers is solid.

Anonymous said...


He sent us in during March because we accept it and keep paying dues. The list below was accepted, right?
1.3% raises over 11 years, retro held back with no interest for 11 years
WE are the only group who had TDA reduced from 8.25% to 7%
no discipline code
fake grades
fake grad rates
fake suspension rates
higher medical co-pays
absentee chapter leaders
abusive admin
abusive students
cell phones in buildings
open market fraud
no travel hardship transfers
getting blamed for students not caring, not being present, being in poverty
screwed observation system
2014 contract extended twice with 0 raise
0 plus 0 in 2011 and 2012

Anonymous said...

And where is our comp from spring beak, 7 days? Are we getting 42 hours of per session for that?

James Eterno said...

Petition for what?

Anonymous said...

.@NYGovCuomo says today that 'many' school districts are contemplating summer school to make up for lost time. 'That we have to feel out as we go. I'm not comfortable getting too far ahead of ourselves.'

Says major downstate decisions will be regional, incl NYC. @lohud

Anonymous said...

Here's what the petition says:

With lives in the balance, we believe that public school educators in New York City — and nationwide — should not return to school buildings unless there are protocols and procedures in place to ensure the safety and health of the staff and students.

The following things need to be in place when buildings reopen:

Widespread access to coronavirus testing to regularly check that people are negative or have immunity
A process for checking the temperature of everyone who enters a school building
Rigorous cleaning protocols and personal protective gear in every school building
An exhaustive tracing procedure that would track down and isolate those who have had close contact with a student or staff member who tests positive for the virus
Without these protections in place, our staff and students — and the families they go home to at night — will not be safe from the virus.

To accomplish these critical goals, New York State and New York City need the federal government’s support — from providing additional funding, to helping us achieve testing capacity to ensuring the supply chains are in place — so we can achieve the scale necessary to reopen safely.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of bloat in between the classroom and the Chancellor. These people just create work for other people and themselves so they can have jobs. Making budget/Salary cuts to these offices and programs would save millions, if not billions:

1. Chancellor and offices
2. Chief of staff and offices
3. First deputy chancellor and offices
4. Executive Superintendents and offices (nine of these)
5. Chief Operating Officers and Deputy Chancellor's and offices (six of these)
6. Executive Director of Borough Support and offices
7. Superintendents and offices

Other areas to Cut or eliminate:

8. Cut Professional Development including professional "retreats."
9. Eliminate the budget for consultants
10. Cut Summer School. Students who choose to fail during the year should not be rewarded with summer school.
11. Eliminate all the redundant testing. We administer Beginning of Year testing (the one used for APPR), DRP testing, mapgrowth testing, on top of the NYS testing and Regents.
11. Eliminate the Quality Review and all that goes with it.
12. Return Regents scoring back to schools so you don't have to pay the thousands in per session.
13. On a school level, my school spends hundreds of thousands on per-session activities that either no students or very few attend. If one is well liked by the principal, it is possible to earn $30,000 - $40,000 in per session alone with nothing to show for the money spent. We spend tens of thousands of dollars a year paying staff members to collect cell phones. My school spends tens of thousands, if not more, a year for various student trips to amusement parks and other trips. My schools spends thousands on "rewards" to give to students and staff. Even now, during this time of online teaching, people are still making per session money!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I wasn't clear....the petition was to ensure that cuts come from the bloated administration and not from the classroom. I'm positive this is something everyone can agree on.

Anonymous said...

Monday 4-27-2020:

No 4 added days to CAR.


Do you think the doe will screw is on raises saying a ‘technological glitch?’

James Eterno said...

That's the UFT's petition and it is missing social distancing which right now seems essential and more than likely will be needed to reopen buildings.

James Eterno said...

Social distancing could last months, White House coronavirus coordinator says
Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator.

That's from the Washington Post. It will need to happen in the schools too as a condition of reopening.

Anonymous said...

So, I got the email today...Student no showed the 1st MP, did absolutely no assignments in the 2nd on google...But the GC told him he could still pass, it isnt too late. He is due to graduate in June.

Anonymous said...

My school is considering giving every student a minimum of a 65, whether they completed 0% of the assignments or 65% of the assignments, or even 100% of the assignments at 65% accuracy. This is clearly lying to students about what they know and can do, so aside from it being ethically problematic, it's also against the contract, where teachers get to decide students grades. But beyond the ethical and legal problems, there are also the ripple effects: 1) when students find out that they don't need to work in order to earn a 65, those who only care about getting a 65 will stop working (which is totally logical), 2) these students will enter classes next year without the necessary skills for the more challenging material, 3) teachers will have even more unprepared students than normal alongside students who DID enough work to learn enough skills and content and are prepared for the next grade, 4) most students will be frustrated - the struggling ones will feel inferior every day because they are unprepared, but were told (through the 65) that they were prepared AND the non-struggling students can't get the rigor they need because the class has to move at a slower pace for the struggling ones, 5) This slows students down from learning what they need and might cause them to fail future standardized tests and college classes, perpetuating the low retention rate at colleges, 6) All of this breeds resentment at teachers, administrators, and other students, so there will be more tension and frustration in the school.

And many schools are going ahead with this plan. Can anyone convince me that this idea of passing everyone with a 65 minimum is a good idea and won't cause any of these collateral and externality effects?

Anonymous said...

There is no reason that the budget for NYC schools should be 34 billion dollars. This is astronomically ludicrous for the failure that it produces. It would not be difficult to cut billions from this budget without touching teachers, students, or classes. Knowing the DOE, they will pay someone a lot of money, to make suggestions as to how to save money. The posters on here will do it for free!

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the policy on grades will be citywide. If a school is out of compliance, contact your District Rep.

waitingforsupport said...

Also: Rigorous AND daily cleaning.
Protocols if staff, students, guardians or any person fails daily testing. I.e. what type of documentation is required to be allowed back into the school building.

waitingforsupport said...

@12:16 pm: I've been saying this pre-Covid. It's a mess

Anonymous said...

So if a kid doesn't have a temperature, does that mean we just admit him or her hoping he she isn't positive anyway. Kids can have the virus and not have a temperature. A normal temperature doesn't prove anything. We will be gambling with our lives.

@myghty1 said...

Well they need to start there. I heard today in our roll call the principal talking about they might not want to grant us the raise that it's due in May. If that's so we better start accruing interest on that payment whenever it comes due at least at a 7% rate. What have you guys heard from your end?

James Eterno said...

Do you really think the DOE has the ability to turn around the May payroll now? Stop it.

Anonymous said...

Crazy thing is that while there are going to be expansive cuts, there are people receiving stimulus checks that are doing much better than when they were working. Now there is talk about a second stimulus check. So people are collecting unemployment, $600 and stimulus checks that can be worth $1,200-$2,400 and $500 per minor dependents.

Can someone inform if people are working will they still receive a stimulus check if fall within the annual W-2 requirements for 2019, 2018?

This is insane. This country has money. There is a lot of mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

Some are doing better. Most are doing worse unless you are a big corporation.

Anonymous said...

getting paid your salary plus $600 a week for not working...Sounds good to me.

Anonymous said...

Yes but how many are in that situation? This looks like the Fox News taking of the extreme example and applying it to all like with welfare cheats.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen what some are spending their stimulus on? Not food and shelter.

Anonymous said...

It is your money. You can spend it how you like.

Anonymous said...

I like the protocols as a start. Also, everyone should be able to decide what PPE they need, especially if they are paying for it. For instance, if I want to be extra careful, I should be able to wear a mask and a face shield without any hassle from the admin. I was just in Staples and the cashier had both! Years ago, when I was at a D75 school the principal wouldn't let us use gloves as needed. One of the paras got hepatitis and went on tv to call the principal out. If the union/DOE/city won't protect us, we must demand to be able to protect ourselves.

My idea to save money-don't buy textbooks this year.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the ATR pool and am getting full salary for doing absolutely nothing but checking my email every day. This is how the city wastes money.

Anonymous said...

In addition to a student refusing to do the work on google, she sent me a penis emoji. I guess that means I'm a dick. She said the other teacher in the same discipline isn't giving any work and passing everybody so I'm the problem because I expect them to do something. Who shall I report this to? What will be done?

Anonymous said...

@ 4:33PM
screen shot the emoji- it has to be reported to the principal and dean to be inputtted into OORS.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. Put it into OORS. The student will be frightened to death.

Anonymous said...

Ya see, look at 4:33. This is what happens when teachers pass everybody and there are no standards. It becomes the expectation and teachers who have a standard become the trash.

James Eterno said...

I agree with 5:11. Cover yourself 4:33.

Anonymous said...

@5:16 oh wow sarcasim- that does a lot of good.
the students is laughing to death,

Anonymous said...

Why not use sarcasm? A failing student refuses to do the work while not having to attend school, puts up something in a public forum which is inappropriate and sexual. Nothing will be done.

waitingforsupport said...

@4:33 pm: yes. Email the principal AND call the principal.

Anonymous said...

Where were all these calls to eliminate all this wasteful spending before the virus? Did people not know, or just not care.