March 17, 2011
Dear New Yorker,
As you may know, this year Chancellor Cathie Black announced that the NYC Department of Education (DOE) would begin requiring principals for the first time to return a portion of their surplus at the end of the year.
In previous years, principals have been able to "roll over" portions of their budgets in expectation of cuts. Last year alone, 741 schools rolled over their budget surpluses into the following year, totaling $81 million systemwide. And almost half of these schools rolled $100,000 or more.
This past Friday, we sent a letter to Chancellor Black voicing our opposition to this policy change and requesting that the DOE to allow principals to roll the entirety of their budget surpluses into the coming fiscal year.
As we argue in our letter, requiring schools to return any amount of their surplus punishes principals for managing their budgets prudently, and we will continue to urge the DOE to reconsider its proposal.
Finally, as reported in the news, the State is making big cuts to education aid in an effort to help close a multibillion dollar budget deficit. We are fighting hard to ensure that we are not left picking up the tab for State-mandated services and that we get a fair and equitable share of the final amount.
Of equal concern are the Governor's proposals to cut school building aid and terminate the State's commitment to funding half of the DOE's capital plan. The Governor's plan wouldn't generate any savings for the State next year, but it would force the DOE to scuttle its plans to add 36,000 new school seats. We are pushing hard to reverse this plan as well.
As always, your input and involvement in these efforts are crucial, and we promise to keep you updated on our progress going forward.
For information and updates on the Council's budget process, please visit us online at www.council.nyc.gov.
Christine C. Quinn
Chair, Education Committee