Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The End of Fair Student Funding?

   Last spring we got some tidbits of information concerning the ATR pool - first there was the announcement that Randy Asher would be overseeing its planned reduction in helping us back into the classroom. Then, there was Mulgrew's visit to Boca with a litany of potential woes (to open those wallets for COPE) in which he said,  "There will be no more ATRs as of September 1st. All ATRs will be placed". A 50K incentive was offered to ATRs and then extended. Then, there was the announcement Amy Arundel would no longer be the ATR rep for the UFT. (No replacement has been announced.) During the end of June it became painfully apparent that many individual school budgets had been cut again for next year. The announcement of next year's budget facilitated the excessing of many teachers into the ghost army of ATRs, classes that will now be combined and overcrowded, many teachers that will have to teach six classes, and the marked scarcity of viable (cheap and inexperienced) teachers available to fill the vacant teaching slots. There will of course be little or no per session and a lack of basic supplies. (That $250 Teachers Choice won't go far in this scenario.)

  All this while the City has a tremendous surplus and the CSA and UFT seem to strongly want an end to Fair Student Funding (aka, individualized school budgets) in order to run their schools to meet the needs of their students. I say this because every principal, UFT rep and even one former superintendent I've spoken to has told me so. Fair student funding has been a Bloomberg burden laden on the shoulders of schools, principals, and children for far too long. It's time it was thrown into the garbage heap with Klein's discarded toupee.

    As an individual example - at an ATR friend's school (which she left in June after a five month gig), four teachers were excessed; the staff were told they would all be teaching six periods next year; that next year's classes would be at full capacity; that three math teachers would have to be hired (but there were no funds to do so) and there would be no per session or money for after school clubs. The principal said he would gladly hire my friend if her salary came from central. This school is not unusual. How will these schools run with no money to pay for necessities and salaries? Why was an ATR incentive offered and then extended?

   I believe the city hoped to rid itself of the most expensive teachers possible before going back to centralized funding. I hope that the city will announce a return to centralized funding for the benefit of the schools and their students. This will allow principals to hire the best teaching candidates, diminish oversized classes and funnel funds into the neediest schools. It will allow for a much more efficient use of funds.

   Perhaps, it is just a pipe dream, but I see no other way for schools to meet their monetary     obligations  under the current accounting system. (Other than springing Bernie Madoff.) It is a win - win for everyone, especially students. Then the powers that be can proudly say, "Children first, always".

No comments:

Post a Comment

I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.