NYC School Budget Cuts Beyond Paper

by NYC Firm Schools on December 14, 2009

Many NYC Private and Public schools are facing budget cuts in the upcoming years as a direct result of the lack of donations, grants and general funding sources, including endowments. The head of the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics has gone into precise detail to show exactly what kind of cuts his school is looking at and how they will affect students and facility as well as facility quality in the upcoming years.

The NY Times made an excellent point on the pain of particular NYC School budget cuts when it simply helped showcase the school’s cuts and what those cuts really mean, not on a spreadsheet, but in a school.

He lobbied the city to pay for his sports coaches, and applied for special federal funds for a library. A federal magnet grant of $250,000 over each of the last three years helped save staff from losing jobs in the last three rounds of cuts: a 4.9 percent cut in June, a 1 percent cut last December, and a 1.75 percent cut last January.

Education officials said Thursday that the budget plan submitted to City Hall attempts as much as possible to absorb the requested 1.5 percent midyear cut outside of the operating budgets controlled by principals.

But if Mr. Tom’s 460-student school bears the brunt of the cut, Mr. Tom guesses it will lose about $43,000.
Next year could be harder. The end of the federal grant means as much as a $250,000 shortfall.

The budget cuts, as they affect services for students, are particularly difficult to look at and understanding the depth of what those cuts will mean to the kids that depend on and love these extra programs is essential.

The next most vulnerable budget category is extra services for students.
A section of the Kaplan SAT prep course provided free to all students would most likely be cut ($12,000), along with about half his $107,000 in supply funds, down to basics like paper and dry-erase markers, and limits on color printing and other luxuries. His $95,000 spending on textbooks will be sliced by $50,000 (he has been hoarding extra books in expectation of cuts).
Dreams of a full school band or equipment like new backboards for the schools’ four netless basketball hoops will remain dreams ($15,000). Spending on the school’s new library, opening in January ($53,000), will approach zero.
As a last resort, there would be personnel cuts. The school has five aides; one, perhaps an information technology specialist who maintains the school’s computers and other equipment, may have to go ($28,000).
Among the teaching staff, there is a math teacher with a more flexible schedule who provides intensive help to special and regular education students.
Cutting that position ($62,000) in a worst-case situation would bring him nearly to the $400,000 total.

Getting to the bottom line is harder when it means shutting down services, programs and facilities that NYC students and schools need.

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