« Roberta Flack, Vietnam, and NCLB - All in One Op-Ed | Main | Mike Petrili and the Meese Police »

What Can $7,789,623 Buy in New York City?

A) 3,894,812 subway rides
B) 15,579 pairs of Prada heels
C) 1812 hours with the Emperors VIP Club
D) 315 years of education at the Brearley School
E) 18 staff for the New York City Department of Education's Division of Assessment and Accountability

On page 446 of New York City's FY09 budget, we learn that the Division of Assessment and Accountability is budgeted at $8,287,282. $7,789,623 will buy you 18 staff - that's $432,757 per person!

The irony of NYC's selective attention to budgeting issues? Priceless.

Update: NYC Parents dishes the goods on Bloomberg's $4.5 million dollar slush fund, which he used to reward city council members.

Update II: NYC DOE's Press Secretary David Cantor posted the following correction to the NYC education news listserve:

The actual headcount in the DOE's Office of Accountability is 79, not 18. The actual budget for salaries is $6.7 million, not $8.3 million. The correct headcount figure is reflected in the most recent DOE Financial Status Report, located online here on page 13. The correct budget figure will appear in the next iteration of the City budget. Sorry for the confusion.

As skoolboy said, "The fact that the people responsible for assessment can't put together an intelligible budget should give us great confidence about the assessment data they report."

Thank heavens NYC runs such a tight ship administratively wihout a trace of bureaucratic bloat and overpaid adminsistrators. Oh wait that's not right, this is just business as usual i NYC in the excess and bloat department. Chump change, if anything. And look what chump chane will buy. Imagine if you did the same thing with the rest of NYC's wasteful administration, you could probably educate half the east coast.

The budgets of organizations inscribe their priorities. But budgeting is a complicated process, and budget categories may not do a very good job of conveying the underlying values, or explaining why numbers show up in one line vs. another. For this reason, I'd like to give the DOE the benefit of the doubt. But they make it so hard!

The modified FY 07 budget for the Division of Accountability and Assessment showed 18 staff budgeted at $648K, for about $36K per person. That seems too low. The adopted FY 08 budget added $4M to the budget for these 18 full-time, full-year salaried positions, which comes to $258K per person. That's obviously too high, and it looks like a budgeting mistake. The modified FY 08 budget added another $3.1M, yielding $433K per person, and the FY 09 budget is level-funded, retaining the $433K per full-time, full-year salaried position. No increase from FY 08 to FY 09! What great management controls!

If you'll pardon me for going on about this:
The modified FY 07 budget and adopted FY 08 budget also had budget lines of $2,040 for telephone and other communications, and $2,000 for non-overnight travel (presumably within the five boroughs of NYC). But then the budget was modified, and all of a sudden there was $814K for telephone and other communications, and $478K for nonovernight travel -- amounting to $45K per person for telephone and other communication, and $26K per person for nonovernight travel. And these were the numbers that are in the FY 09 budget as well. $45K per person for telephone and other communcation -- are these the diamond-encrusted Blackberries?

So: The fact that the people responsible for assessment can't put together an intelligible budget should give us great confidence about the assessment data they report. And the fact that budgets get modified behind the scenes in fairly dramatic ways is troubling to me. Maybe there's a simple (or not so simple) explanation for all this -- but it's the DOE's responsibility to make the budgetary information accessible, transparent and understandable, and the available documents don't do the job.

Perhaps David Cantor is lurking and can clue us in.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • skoolboy: The budgets of organizations inscribe their priorities. But budgeting is read more
  • KDeRosa: Thank heavens NYC runs such a tight ship administratively wihout read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here


8th grade retention
Fordham Foundation
The New Teacher Project
Tim Daly
absent teacher reserve
absent teacher reserve

accountability in Texas
accountability systems in education
achievement gap
achievement gap in New York City
acting white
AERA annual meetings
AERA conference
Alexander Russo
Algebra II
American Association of University Women
American Education Research Associatio
American Education Research Association
American Educational Research Journal
American Federation of Teachers
Andrew Ho
Art Siebens
Baltimore City Public Schools
Barack Obama
Bill Ayers
black-white achievement gap
books on educational research
boy crisis
brain-based education
Brian Jacob
bubble kids
Building on the Basics
Cambridge Education
carnival of education
Caroline Hoxby
Caroline Hoxby charter schools
cell phone plan
charter schools
Checker Finn
Chicago shooting
Chicago violence
Chris Cerf
class size
Coby Loup
college access
cool people you should know
credit recovery
curriculum narrowing
Dan Willingham
data driven
data-driven decision making
data-driven decision-making
David Cantor
Dean Millot
demographics of schoolchildren
Department of Assessment and Accountability
Department of Education budget
Diplomas Count
disadvantages of elite education
do schools matter
Doug Ready
Doug Staiger
dropout factories
dropout rate
education books
education policy
education policy thinktanks
educational equity
educational research
educational triage
effects of neighborhoods on education
effects of No Child Left Behind
effects of schools
effects of Teach for America
elite education
Everyday Antiracism
excessed teachers
exit exams
experienced teachers
Fordham and Ogbu
Fordham Foundation
Frederick Douglass High School
Gates Foundation
gender and education
gender and math
gender and science and mathematics
gifted and talented
gifted and talented admissions
gifted and talented program
gifted and talented programs in New York City
girls and math
good schools
graduate student union
graduation rate
graduation rates
guns in Chicago
health benefits for teachers
High Achievers
high school
high school dropouts
high school exit exams
high school graduates
high school graduation rate
high-stakes testing
high-stakes tests and science
higher ed
higher education
highly effective teachers
Houston Independent School District
how to choose a school
incentives in education
Institute for Education Sciences
is teaching a profession?
is the No Child Left Behind Act working
Jay Greene
Jim Liebman
Joel Klein
John Merrow
Jonah Rockoff
Kevin Carey
KIPP and boys
KIPP and gender
Lake Woebegon
Lars Lefgren
leaving teaching
Leonard Sax
Liam Julian

Marcus Winters
math achievement for girls
meaning of high school diploma
Mica Pollock
Michael Bloomberg
Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee teacher contract
Mike Bloomberg
Mike Klonsky
Mike Petrilli
narrowing the curriculum
National Center for Education Statistics Condition of Education
new teachers
New York City
New York City bonuses for principals
New York City budget
New York City budget cuts
New York City Budget cuts
New York City Department of Education
New York City Department of Education Truth Squad
New York City ELA and Math Results 2008
New York City gifted and talented
New York City Progress Report
New York City Quality Review
New York City school budget cuts
New York City school closing
New York City schools
New York City small schools
New York City social promotion
New York City teacher experiment
New York City teacher salaries
New York City teacher tenure
New York City Test scores 2008
New York City value-added
New York State ELA and Math 2008
New York State ELA and Math Results 2008
New York State ELA and Math Scores 2008
New York State ELA Exam
New York state ELA test
New York State Test scores
No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind Act
passing rates
picking a school
press office
principal bonuses
proficiency scores
push outs
qualitative educational research
qualitative research in education
quitting teaching
race and education
racial segregation in schools
Randall Reback
Randi Weingarten
Randy Reback
recovering credits in high school
Rick Hess
Robert Balfanz
Robert Pondiscio
Roland Fryer
Russ Whitehurst
Sarah Reckhow
school budget cuts in New York City
school choice
school effects
school integration
single sex education
small schools
small schools in New York City
social justice teaching
Sol Stern
Stefanie DeLuca
stereotype threat
talented and gifted
talking about race
talking about race in schools
Teach for America
teacher effectiveness
teacher effects
teacher quailty
teacher quality
teacher tenure
teachers and obesity
Teachers College
teachers versus doctors
teaching as career
teaching for social justice
teaching profession
test score inflation
test scores
test scores in New York City
testing and accountability
Texas accountability
The No Child Left Behind Act
The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains
thinktanks in educational research
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Tom Kane
University of Iowa
Urban Institute study of Teach for America
Urban Institute Teach for America
value-added assessment
Wendy Kopp
women and graduate school science and engineering
women and science
women in math and science
Woodrow Wilson High School