City Council Education Committee Chairman Mark Treyger has it right: Chancellor Richard Carranza needs to cut the fat at Department of Education HQ before slashing classroom funding.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget cuts $200 million-plus from schools, yet leaves the system’s bureaucracy at $125 million above the 2014 level. Under two chancellors, the de Blasio era has seen an ever-growing central staff of allies, cronies and consultants — with the non-classroom bureaucracy up a whopping 46 percent.
Under Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the system blew through $750 million for the Renewal Schools debacle, hiring hundreds of consultants, many of them her cronies, to “coach” the staff at failing schools. Carranza’s best move was to end the program.
But then he added a whole new layer of central bureaucracy: nine executive superintendents earning $200,000 salaries. And some 56 specialists assigned to the little-known or understood Academic Response Teams — costing taxpayers close to $10 million a year to “coach” school staffs where test scores are lagging.
Treyger (D-Brooklyn), a former teacher, wants to know why spending on central staff, borough administrators and support personnel mushroomed from $489 million to $734 million over seven years. “If you’re not working in a school each day, if you’re working in a field office, you’re not providing a direct service to students,” he fumes.
Some central staff are a necessity — but the way forward now should begin with a rollback of the last six years’ bureaucratic bloat.
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