View Full Version : All NYC Penalty for New York City Principals Who Save

02-18-2011, 09:16 AM
This from the N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/nyregion/18principal.html) by Sharon Otterman:
Sari Latto, the principal of P.S. 41 (http://schools.nycenet.edu/region3/ps41/) in Bayside, Queens, is thinking of buying some new lunchroom tables and extra paper for her classrooms. Joseph Lisa, the principal of Intermediate School 61 (http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/24/Q061/default.htm) in Corona, would not mind new curtains in the auditorium or extra laptop computers for his 2,200 students.

In a time of shrinking budgets, both are loath to spend the money. They would rather save it for next school year, so they can satisfy more basic needs like retaining enough teachers to keep class sizes down. A new city policy, however, is discouraging them from doing so.

The city informed its 1,600 principals on Wednesday that any money they had planned to save from this year to cushion against next year’s cuts will be taxed by the Education Department at a rate of 50 percent. In other words, if a principal planned to save $100,000, $50,000 would be taken back by the department.

If they do not want to lose the saved money, principals must spend it — and fast. They have until March 4 to decide if they will roll over money or go shopping.

“We will wind up making purchases frivolously rather than intelligently,” she said. “I know the department is in dire straits right now, but I don’t understand the rationale behind taking away money from those schools that were prudent.”

read more>> (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/nyregion/18principal.html)

02-18-2011, 09:23 AM
Really? Seriously?? Does the DOE need that much money that it has to take it from the schools itself now? I'd love for someone with inside information to chime in on this one...

02-18-2011, 10:06 AM
I totally agree that the DOE policy makes no sense on the surface. They should reward principals who are prudent with their budget and plan long term. Forcing them to spend it or lose it simply encourages wasteful spending. The question I do have is how are some of these principals able to save while others are not? Is it because some principals are truly more effective at managing their budget or is the DOE just bad at allocating funds?

02-18-2011, 10:38 AM
I wish they could reward the principals/schools that are doing well. I suppose, however, that it is highly inefficient to do so as the DOE does not have the resources to review and make plans/special rules for each individual school. I do believe that some principals are truly more effective at managing (whether it's budget or something else), as some schools are more successful than others. I do not know enough about specifics on DOE policies to speak intelligently about it, but I would bet that also is a big factor as it relates to school budgets.
I already sent an email to my school's parent coordinator to question the principal re: this policy. I know our principal is a saver and is pretty frugal. So I'm interested to hear his point of view.

02-18-2011, 10:40 AM
On a side note, if schools do have to spend in current year because they don't want to get taxed, I sure wish they would put it towards some school supplies...the lists we get every year can be ridiculous! (not to make light of this situation...)

02-18-2011, 11:29 AM
On a side note, if schools do have to spend in current year because they don't want to get taxed, I sure wish they would put it towards some school supplies...the lists we get every year can be ridiculous! (not to make light of this situation...)

That would make sense - stockpile on some stuff you have to buy next year anyway. On your other comment, it's just fascinating that Bloomberg/DOE talks about running schools like a business, but this isn't necessarily what an efficient business would do.

02-18-2011, 11:39 AM
I agree. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a parent.

02-19-2011, 10:30 AM
This from N.Y. Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2011/02/18/2011-02-18_principals_rip_ed_dept_plan_to_raid_schools_rai ny_day_funds_saved_for_next_years.html) by Rachel Monahan:
Responsible principals knocked the agency's decision to make them choose between preparing for next year - or giving up half their savings.

"If we were fiscally responsible and were able to provide a robust program for our students this year, and we're trying to anticipate what was going to happen next year by being able to save some money, why should we be penalized?" asked Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice Principal Shannon Curran.

Curran said it's "unfair" to her students to give up half the savings next fall, so instead of putting aside enough to avoid staffing cuts next fall, she is stockpiling supplies now, she said.

"I'm chewing on nails. It's unfair," one Manhattan assistant principal said.

"If they want to make it like a small business, a small business doesn't lose half of the money that it saves."

read more>> (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2011/02/18/2011-02-18_principals_rip_ed_dept_plan_to_raid_schools_rai ny_day_funds_saved_for_next_years.html)

03-04-2011, 09:33 AM
This from NY1.com (http://www.ny1.com/content/news_beats/education/134960/city-principals-fight-to-keep-rainy-day-funds/) by Lindsey Christ:

Principals say they're being robbed by the Department of Education. And this week a member of the Panel for Educational Policy pressed Schools Chancellor Cathie Black to explain why she wants to take half of any money principals have left at the end of the school year. In the past, principals were encouraged to spend wisely -- to save money and roll-over any left-over funds to spend when school starts again in the fall.

"What we have announced is that principals have the authority to roll over 50 percent of the dollars that they have had. As you all know, the city and our city schools are in a very difficult financial position," Black said.

But the panel member pushed for more of an explanation.

"I know that in 2009, 800 schools rolled over money for the rainy day. Well it's pouring now and we're taking away their umbrella. We can't do this. We need to think this through," said Panel for Educational Policy Member Dmytro Fedkowskyj.

The chancellor said she would think it over. She had set Friday as the deadline for principals to decide whether they'd lose half their savings, or go on a spending spree to empty their budgets by the end of June. Now the DOE has decided to give principals two more weeks to consider their options. But principals say they don't want more time.

read more>> (http://www.ny1.com/content/news_beats/education/134960/city-principals-fight-to-keep-rainy-day-funds/)

03-04-2011, 09:39 AM
Thanks for posting these articles to keep us informed/updated.

03-07-2011, 09:52 AM
According to N.Y. Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2011/03/07/2011-03-07_we_may_spare_ps_rainy_day_funds__mike.html), Mayor Bloomberg is open to sparing schools' rainy day funds. However, the mayor said he didn't think the relatively small amount of money in the rainy-day funds would save many jobs - he plans to lay off nearly 4,600 teachers and slash other positions through attrition.

03-08-2011, 09:14 AM
After all the back and forth, the DOE decided that principals still have to return rainy day funds, but 30% instead of the previous 50%.