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theschoolboards
08-18-2011, 09:31 AM
From the N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/nyregion/five-new-york-city-school-principals-talk-budget-cuts.html) by Fernanda Santos:

Five months after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg outlined a plan to give principals more autonomy to run their schools, the city imposed what would be the first of five consecutive cuts to the schools’ budgets. To make ends meet, principals have trimmed after-school programs, shrunk their support staffs and tightened their schools’ use of things like printing paper, markers and Post-it notes. They have dismissed coaches who used to help teachers prepare for their lessons, and teachers whose salaries they could no longer pay.

While the overall Department of Education budget has increased, so have mandated expenses for programs like special education services. So schools, whose budgets are malleable, have been asked to cut a total of 13.7 percent, on average, since 2007. The era of austerity has turned the notion of principals’ autonomy into a recurring exercise in deciding what to do without.

For Lisa Siegman, the principal of Public School 3 in Greenwich Village, it means being unable to hire a teacher for an extra class she had planned to open in the fall. Instead, she increased class sizes, placing 30 students in combined classrooms of second and third graders that two years ago had 24.

Ms. Siegman’s is one of 250 city schools that appealed their budgets for 2011-12, saying their allocation was not enough to cover their expenses. That compares with 166 schools that filed appeals last year, according to Department of Education statistics. Of those, 65 percent, or 108 schools, received some additional money.

The first decisions on the most recent round of appeals were released last week and for 88 schools, the news was not good: their requests for more financing were denied. For now, principals are left with no choice but to start over and figure out ways to cut some more.

The budget cuts are affecting schools in wealthy neighborhoods, like Greenwich Village, and poor ones, like East New York, Brooklyn. Five principals talked about the choices they have had to make for the school year that starts on Sept. 8.

read more>> (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/nyregion/five-new-york-city-school-principals-talk-budget-cuts.html)