Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Don't Have a Plan; Or, You Do Have a Plan, We Just Like Ours Better

The cartoon at left (from Jim Morin, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Miami Herald) made me laugh without laughing, if you know what I mean. "You don't have a plan!" is a popular straw man argument that one side can use against another when one side simply doesn't like the other's plan or finds it to clash with pre-established beliefs (or talking points). Just as Congressional Republicans like to accuse Democrats, including President Obama (who has put forth a deficit reduction plan), of not having a plan, so Mayor Bloomberg seems to think that his opponents don't have a realistic plan for averting teacher layoffs. Well, we here at NYC Educator have some news for the Mayor: We have a plan.

The selected bullet points below come from Class Size Matters:

Cost cuts or freezes:
  • $23 million: cancel (or do not renew) contracts w/ McGraw Hill and Scantron for Acuity, or interim assessments. These contracts end in Aug. 2011 and most parents, teachers and even principals think they are worthless. (Note from Miss Eyre: Making interim assessments at a school or department level is totally possible.)
  • $4 million: cut contracts with TFA and New Teacher Project and instead retrain current teachers for
  • licenses in shortage areas.
  • $400 million: cut the projected increase in spending on private contracts and consultants by two thirds
  • $2 million: cut back on the growth in Children First Network and cluster staff
  • $15 million: moratorium on opening new schools.
  • $15 million: freeze spending for central administration
  • $21 million: freeze spending on technology
  • $9 million: reduce contract spending on professional development by using in house staff (Note from Miss Eyre: Good professional development builds capacity and community rather than just bringing in someone with a PowerPoint from the outside.)
  • $100 million: Charge co-located charter schools for the space and services that the city now provides in DOE buildings for free. (Emphasis mine)
Total: up to $600 million dollars in savings.

Revenue increases:
  • $450 million: Do not let state’s millionaire tax lapse, and/or impose one in NYC (needs state approval)
  • $65 million: Extend the Mortgage Recording Tax to coop apartments (needs state approval but even the Mayor supports this one)
  • $100 million in FY 12; $275 million to $400 million in subsequent years: Gradually raise Cap on Property Tax Assessment Increases (requires state approval)
  • $300 million: Extend the General Corporation Tax to Insurance Company Business Income (requires state approval)
  • $200 million: End the Unincorporated Business Tax exemption for hedge fund profit (requires state approval)
Total: At least $1.2 billion, but most would need state approval; more realistic options for next year.

So if a group of concerned parents, teachers, and bloggers can come up with enough savings and revenue increases to save all the laid-off teachers (without pay cuts or salary freezes to pedagogical, administrative, and/or support staff, no less!), then it appears that there is in fact a plan.

Your move, Mayor.
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