capital plan

new school

$1 billion

New York

Defending cuts to some city services, Bloomberg cites Klein

The city Department of Education is spared the worst of city agencies' impending budget cuts, according to the executive budget proposal released by Mayor Bloomberg today for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Lots of city agencies are being asked to fire employees, and spending citywide on capital projects has been slashed by 27 percent, Bloomberg said at a briefing for reporters about the plan today. On the other hand, he said, "We have a school system that we are putting more money in than we did last year." The budget proposed today includes $10,810,000 in city funds for public schools. By the end of the current fiscal year, according to budget documents distributed today, the DOE will have received $10,462,000 in city funds.  The DOE is being asked merely not to replace teachers who leave, not outright fire teachers, Bloomberg said. Plus, he said, federal stabilization money will allow the DOE to escape the deep cuts in capital funds that other city agencies are experiencing. Although the new capital plan is smaller than the one that is now ending, the DOE is being spared the 27 percent capital budget reduction that other agencies are set to experience. Whether the DOE would be included in a citywide reduction in capital spending had been an open question. Responding to a reporter's question about cuts to other agencies that could impede their ability to help needy New Yorkers, Bloomberg cited the philosophy of his chancellor, Joel Klein. "You're never going to fix poverty until you fix public education," Bloomberg said. "I'm always happy to hear the mayor adopt my philosophy," Klein told me when I asked him what he thought about hearing the philosophy he has promoted as the founder of the Education Equality Project being used to explain cuts in city services that some have called "ruthless." Klein sounded less sanguine when discussing the school budget picture.
New York

Live-blogging the City Council capital plan hearing, sort of

I spent the afternoon at the City Council's hearing on the School Construction Authority's proposed capital plan, and I tried to post updates as they happened. Unfortunately, the wireless at City Hall wasn't cooperating, so here are some highlights of the hearing, just a few hours after it ended. 1:20 p.m. Education Committee chair Robert Jackson led off right away with the elephant in the room: the economy. He said the city is facing "very difficult economic times" and noted that the mayor has requested that all city agencies reduce their capital requests by 20 percent. Economic conditions didn't stop Jackson from saying that the council wants to "take [the SCA] to task for unresolved problems and exaggerated claims." In particular, he pointed to the authority's claim that the current capital plan is the largest in the city's history, noting that many more seats were created in the early years of the 20th century. Jackson also noted the Campaign for a Better Capital Plan's finding that more school seats were added in the last six years of the Giuliani administration than in the first six year's of Bloomberg's. 1:30 p.m. Kathleen Grimm, the DOE's deputy chancellor for administration, drew some laughter when she read from her prepared testimony about the DOE's recent "capital accomplishments" the departments's oft-repeated claim that the current capital plan, which runs through the end of June 2009, is the largest in its history. She said in the future she'll be specifying that it's the largest plan in SCA's history, not the DOE's. The state created SCA in 1988. 1:45 p.m. SCA head Sharon Greenberger walked council members through a Power Point presentation about the proposed capital plan. She noted that the SCA did incorporate a plan for class size reduction into its calculations — but the reduction was to 28 students in grades 4-8 and 30 in high school, not 23 as the state Contracts for Excellence requires for those grades.
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