District 24 Council Crunches The Numbers
Questions from parents and a presentation on Contracts For Excellence (C4E) funding for the upcoming financial year topped the agenda last Tuesday, Oct. 28 in Corona during the Community Education Council (CEC) District 24 meeting held at P.S. 19.
District 24 Superintendent Madelene Taub-Chan gave attendees a breakdown on how much funding the district will receive.
Contracts For Excellence is a way in which the city Department of Education (DOE) receives a portion of its overall budget in the form of Foundation Aid via the state, according to the DOE. These are monies that by state rules have to be distributed to certain schools and must be spent by those schools in specific program areas.
“Every year the NYC Department of Education will receive a portion of money from foundations in the form of aid,” Taub-Chan said.
Legislation passed in 2006 funds every public school so every child in the state has a right to a “sound basic education,” and in addition, the state has the responsibility to increase funding for city public schools, according to the DOE.
City schools began receiving C4E funds for the first time in the 2007-08 school year, it was noted. The funds, under state law, must be distributed to certain schools and must be spent by those schools in specific program areas, Taub- Chan stated.
More than $348 million will be divided between city schools for the upcoming financial year, she said.
City-wide, class size reduction is the biggest category, with 46 percent (or $160 million), followed by $107 million, 31 percent, for time on task, the presentation noted.
“It seems like a lot of money, but has to go quite far,” Taub- Chan said.
She also advised that, “This presentation is not approved yet, the purpose is to get your feedback.”
In District 24, over $12 million will be devoted to specific programs, including: English Language Learners; students in poverty; students with disabilities; and for students with low academic achievement or at risk of not graduating.
By state law, the funds must go to students with the greatest educational need, it was noted.
These funds must go to support six educational initiatives and specific programs.
These include class size reduction; time on task; teacher and principal quality initiatives; middle and high school restructuring; full-day pre-K programs; and model programs for English Language Learners, Taub-Chan stated.
“All schools received some discretionary funds last year, and as long as the schools contain similar populations they will receive the same amount of funds,” Taub-Chan said.
“Time on task seems to the most needed area, followed by class size reduction,” she said.
The public can access the presentation online at the Department of Education website, and give feedback at this address: ContractsForExcellence@schoo ls.nyc.gov
Question and answer
Following the presentation, attendees were given time to query members on their concerns.
One parent asked about overcrowding in District 24.
Though members know it is a problem, there does not seem to be an easy solution, even as new schools are bult to serve a growing population.
“The problem is District 24 is overcrowded,” District 24 president Nick Comaianni said. “As fast as we build it, as fast as they fill up.”
Maspeth parent Charlie Vavruska stated he feels “there is not enough parent input or notification,” since the de Blasio administration came into office.
“I’m concerned with this and I want to know what can be done to slow this administration down,” he said.
The next Community Education Council District 24 meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at a location to be announced.