How to provide ‘Fiscal Equity’ for
School Leaders with ‘Fiscal Equity’
Last month, I wrote about what was missing from all the proposals
on how to spend Campaign for Fiscal Equity funding, the necessity
for increasing the support and resources for school leaders.
Here now is a brief overview of how that money can be best
used to achieve that goal:
Increase Supervisory Requirement
Applicants for a principal’s position were once required
to have at least five years supervisory experience. We should
reinstate that standard. I see too many potentially good school
leaders fail as Principals because of their inexperience. CSA
is then chastised for representing them. I didn’t promote
them. The Board of Education did. I simply invoke their contract.
But it is unfair and downright ludicrous to expect a man or
woman with minimal teaching experience and one or two years
experience as an Assistant Principal to run a troubled school.
An Assistant Principal for Every School
Hundreds of schools in New York
City operate without an Assistant Principal. The entire administration
of these schools falls solely on the principals. Each time
a grade or program is added to a school, and each time we
reduce the size of classes, we increase the number of school
personnel who require supervision and support. In other words,
the Principal’s responsibilities
increase. We must see to it that Principals have their own
qualified and certified supervisors to assist in fulfilling
Assistant Principals have diverse responsibilities. Their
role includes providing instructional support for teachers,
scheduling classes, school discipline and coordinating student
transportation. APs also handle attendance, social and recreational
programs, and health issues. In addition, they counsel students
on educational, vocational or personal matters.
Last, but certainly not least, Assistant Principals and Supervisors
with expertise in specific areas of instruction are critical
to the implementation of curriculum, professional development
for teachers, and parent and student interactions. Schools
with more than 750 students need more than one AP. I am suggesting
a ratio of one instructional supervisor for every 17 teachers
in our middle and secondary schools. When you consider the
1:10 supervisory ratio structure the DOE and other city agencies
use, this does not seem unreasonable.
A School Operations Officer in Every Building
Schools need a manager skilled in handling budgets and supplies,
scheduling and programming. That person, under the supervision
of the principal and part of the cabinet, should directly supervise
non-pedagogical personnel at the school level.
Customized Supervisory Expertise
Schools have different needs based on their individual populations.
A cookie-cutter approach must be avoided.
For example, elementary schools should have supervisors with
expertise in early childhood development. Schools with many
non-English speakers need a supervisor with language expertise.
Schools with a demonstrated need for additional guidance, clinical
and special education components should have the appropriate
supervision so they can develop and maintain teacher and clinician
We have an extraordinary opportunity before us if we actually
receive this infusion of CFE funding. If there ever were a
time for strategic planning, this is it. We must articulate
our vision in language devoid of rhetorical and catchy phrases.
It is time to build a future and avoid short-term, politically-motivated
Jill Levy is the President of the Council for Supervisors