Friday, February 18, 2011

Council Member Mark Weprin Criticizes DOE's Latest Action: Now They Are Taking Away Money from School Budgets

Council Member Mark S. Weprin (D- Oakland Gardens) sent a letter to Chancellor Cathleen P. Black, New York City Department of Education (DOE), in opposition to the recent directive to school principals indicating that, according to the Deferred Program Planning Initiative, they can retain only fifty percent of the funds that remain at the end of the school year. In years past, principals were able to roll over one hundred percent of residual monies from one year to the next.

“This policy is misguided,” said Council Member Mark S. Weprin. “It punishes school children for the fiscal responsibility of their principals.”

Council Member Weprin noted that allowing principals to roll over remaining funds rewards careful budgeting, leading to a small cushion in many schools’ budgets. When the inevitable budget cuts arrive, the savvy planners’ preparedness helps them to better weather the storm. This year in particular, many principals, fully aware of the severe budgetary challenges facing our City and 

State, saved money that they intended to transfer for use during the next school year. Withdrawing those funds is an affront to the principals’ prudent efforts as well as to the students they have tried to protect.

In addition, Council Member Weprin indicated that removing unspent funds perversely incentivizes principals to spend every last dime, which is exactly the opposite of what DOE should be doing in the current environment.

“The DOE has often said that principals are the CEOs of their schools, but it’s true in rhetoric only,” said Council Member Mark S. Weprin. “Removing half of unspent monies seriously undermines the concept.”

Letter below:

Click on image to enlarge...

Click on image to enlarge...