on the Budget
The “barebones” budget recently adopted by both houses of the
New York State Legislature has entire school communities experiencing
FUD. As the first day of school draws closer, school districts
across our state are planning budgets predicated on FUD, the computer
industry jargon rival companies use to discredit their competition,–fear,
uncertainty and doubt.
Fear was the tactic the state legislature used when they threatened
not to fund the Governor’s priorities unless he funded their priorities.
The end result is a stalemate and a state budget that is $4 billion
less than the Governor’s original proposal. Attempting to instill
some fear into the legislators, the Governor is threatening to
Not only are school districts across the state shortchanged, but
NYC public school children get a triple whammy. First, in the
Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, Judge Degrasse found that
NYC students are grossly under funded when compared to all other
public school students across the state. Second, the NYC budget
did not live up to the anticipated needs of the Chancellor and
the expectations set for schools. Finally, the “barebones” state
budget dealt the final blow.
prevails as NYC school districts revise their budgets downward
in a year when the Regents revised educational expectations upward.
While Chancellor Levy responds to the pressures of diminished
budgets, FUD spreads to Superintendents as they prepare contingency
plans to reduce staff and programs. Uncertain about their ability
to support schools with diminished resources, fearful about the
impact on their districts and doubtful about the future of NYC
public education, Superintendents need to call upon their school
communities–parents, taxpayers and businesses–to insist upon an
end of FUD.
experience FUD as they face the school year wondering if they
will have a certified teacher in every classroom and experienced
administrative and supervisory support to meet academic and environmental
standards. Assistant principals, school supervisors and district/central
office education administrators confront FUD as they return to
their districts not knowing if they have their positions or who
will perform the tasks of administrative support personnel.
In September, approximately 50% (about 500) NYC Principals will
have three years or less experience in their positions. Of that
number, 20% will be newly assigned. Yet, they will be expected
to lead schools to higher academic levels. Do more with less!
keeps future leaders from seeking administrative positions. Assistant
principal ranks are being depleted as Principals and Assistant
Principals retire. Yet, in this climate of uncertainty, potential
leaders are reluctant to leave secure teaching positions. We cannot
afford or allow FUD to rob us of future educational leadership.
uncertainty, and doubt should have no place in education. Parents
are entitled to the certainty of knowing that their children will
receive services to ensure success. Educators should have no doubt
about having adequate resources to fulfill their responsibilities.
Children must be confident that they are safe, secure and supported
in their schools. Political brinksmanship should never be allowed
to cut lifelines to schools, especially when politicians scream
for high academic standards. It is time to replace FUD with successful
Levy is the President of the Council of Supervisors & Administrators.
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
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