37th District, Queens
Chair: NYS Assembly Education Committee
Dear Ms. Nolan:
Chancellor Klein has asked me to respond to your letter voicing concerns over our Weight School Funding (WSF) initiative.
To summarize your letter: You resent the Chancellor’s comments that he found “bureaucratic inertia, patronage and chaos” throughout the system when assumed his position. The schools in your Assembly District are well run and you are proud of the high achievement levels of the students and especially the dedication of their teachers. The schools, the parents and the Community School Board had a close working relationship and the Board provided a forum for parents and the community to meet and share their concerns and develop effective policies. You are saddened by their demise and look forward to the reconstruction of local boards after the sunset of Mayoral control.
You fear that Weighted School Funding formulas will result in sharp decreases in funding for the schools in your district with concomitant increases in class size and the reduction or elimination of a range of programs, including music, art, and after school programs. You are especially angered that CFE funds will be used during the phase in to lessen the impact of these cuts rather than share in the benefits of the extra funding. You are correct.
The Chancellor has reviewed your concerns and finds them accurate.
Your schools have chosen to retain experienced teachers that are near or at the top off the pay scale. These teachers are more costly and will result in reducing the staffs in your schools under the WSF initiative.
I have to agree that your schools have many children who have met State Standards, your English Language Learners move into general education classes quickly and you refer relatively few children to Special Education. Under WSF students in your schools carry fewer dollars and your schools will receive fewer dollars. The schools can increase their funding by attracting more students with disabilities, with limited language skills or are below standards in English and Math – in other words accepting more educationally challenged children – probably bused from other areas. Or, the parents in your district can opt to be bused to other schools with more challenged populations.
We believe WSF will eliminate inequalities and encourage your schools to adopt policies that will impact positively for the system at large.
I must remind you that educational decisions are solely in the hands of the Mayor, and his designee, the Chancellor. We have no statutory responsibility to consult or confer with any elected official.
The Chancellor reminds me that he and the Mayor support a number of bills dealing with raising the Charter School caps, changing teacher tenure and especially making Mayoral control permanent, we know we can count on you for your support.
Assistant to the Chancellor for Inchoate Policy