Multiple folks have been touching base with me today that school based spending on books. equipment, purchase orders and most overtime has been frozen for the year by the NYCDoE. This is obviously in response to the budget calamity that the COVID19 crisis is brining on. But it is also an omen of terrible pain to come.
Schools had just received their mid-year adjustments in the final days of January. In some cases, this is almost 50% of their overall school budgets.
That's between 30% and 50% of school budgets that were simply frozen.
It is important to watch that money.
Many things can happen with it. Typically, monies that schools do not spend are carried over until the next next. Up until at least 2015 (the last year I was full time blogging and keeping up with my contacts) this carry over money was not counted in the following year's budget. If the carryover rule is still in effect for this, and the DoE had intended to force schools to save their funds for next year, the they should be applauded.
But never forget, this is the same school system that once required that every school use one particular form, and then charged schools to purchase the forms from their facilities.
And in the Department of Education of New York, it's Tweed first and students second.
This is why it is important to watch that money. If it is held in school budgets in order to ease the pain for next year, then freezing the budgets were a good thing. But if it is going to be taken out of schools accounts and go right back to "central" to help pay for the staff at "central", then the act borders on criminal. I would not be surprised at all if the DoE took this money from schools and then also performed those drastic cuts that Cuomo has warned about.
And none of this is being discussed right now in NYC. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there here it ...
That money could have been used to purchase software or hardware to make is easy on students. Instead, without warning or public announcement, the DoE froze it.
Fighting a war doesn't mean you tie the hands of your army and steal from residents you should be serving.
Meanwhile, NYSUT is already beginning to fight back against the obvious trouble that is coming down the pike. This email was just sent out to their political members last night (Thanks to the Solidarity member who shared this).
The.UFT.Needs.To.Begin.This.Work.As.Well. Now.Before it may be too late.
Urgent Call to Action:
As you may know, the governor recently announced that school districts should be prepared to make cuts to their budgets to account for lost revenue from the state. If nothing else, this pandemic has highlighted the vital role that our schools play in our communities. Now, more than ever, it is important that we prevent these dramatic cuts! Furthermore, there is simply no need to make cuts. The passage of the federal stimulus package infused 2 billion dollars to our state for public education stabilization!
We need your help to make sure legislators stand up in conference to prevent these cuts and save the future of our children’s education! Make sure you call the Senators and Assemblymembers from your region. You can find a link to call them along with a script here:
Additionally, last night NYSUT launched a television ad regarding this issue. Please watch and share widely! You can view the ad here:Thank you so much for your advocacy and commitment to our union!
Stay safe and stay healthy