Save teaching jobs: Forget hike for consultants

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KW writes: While politicians whine about school budgets: The proposal to stop hikes for consultants (or, maybe even let go some consultants) is a great idea, proposed in NYC, that could apply elsewhere. Some folks might also remember the school attorney scandal in NY. Some of the largess of school systems goes to overpaid consultants, professionals, and former administrators. And, there may still be bulk to cut there related to overblown contracts and salaries, and/or unfairly earned pensions (like the attorneys who had worked for schools part-time, but were given pension credit.)

Another fix — which would be structural and more permanent — for the ongoing problem of bloated school budgets, would be for the state to require a “menu item budget”. Instead of blackmailing the public with a “Yes or No” vote on the budget, the state could require school districts to present separate budget items to be voted on separately, such as “increase teacher salaries”, “increase administrative salaries”, “increase extra-curricula budget”, “increase transportation budget”. That would create much more accountability in the budgeting system.

(excerpt from) NY Daily News
Public Advocate De Blasio has plan to save some teaching jobs: Forget hike for consultants
by Rachel Monahan / March 7th 2011

The city should save 300 teachers from layoffs by canceling its plans to increase payments to high-priced computer consultants, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio urged Saturday.

In a letter to Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, De Blasio recommended also looking for other cuts to avoid increasing class sizes in city public schools.

“There is nothing more important for our children’s education than keeping teachers in the classroom,” he wrote.

The Daily News reported Friday that the agency is planning to increase its budget for the technology contracts next fiscal year by 86%, or $24 million, while planning to lay off 4,600 teachers.

De Blasio noted that class size is already on the increase and suggested there were other ways to save teachers.

“The department should examine its administrative budget to identify any superfluous spending that could be used to prevent teacher layoffs,” he wrote. “Freezing all nonessential expenditures, such as this contract, is without doubt the right place to start.”…

Education Department officials declined to comment Saturday on De Blasio’s letter.

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