An Open Letter to the
Honorable Michael Bloomberg
Mayor of the City of New York
Dear Mr. Mayor:
I would ask you to give due consideration to instructing Chancellor Joel Klein to revisit the manner in which he has chosen to comply with your cuts to the Department of Education's budget.
I personally believe you, or at least your Chancellor, should have met with your school administrators and other stakeholders before summarily cutting $180 million from the schools budget. I've no doubt your school administrators would be able to identify areas for savings that would have little or no impact on school operations or our children's education if you used your clout in Albany to secure unfunded mandate relief that would allow your principals added discretion within their budgets. You have routinely pressed the state legislature and the governor on issues near and dear to your heart and quite effectively at that- what could be more important than our children's education?
As it is, your Chancellor has implemented the cut ordered by you in a manner that largely spares the Tweed bureaucracy while shifting most of the pain to local school budgets, raising the specter of cutbacks in after-school and tutorial programs that have likely helped lift grades and graduation rates that were touted as part of your success in your re-election.
Indeed, it has been reported that the $80 million cut to the agency's central bureaucracy was mostly smoke and mirrors, while it is plain to see that the $100 million cut to our local schools could have material impact.
In short, as a parent and as a Community District Education Council member, I am writing you today to implore you to have your Chancellor revisit the manner in which these cuts have been implemented and encourage him to dialogue with the principals who you have consistently indicated you would hold accountable for results. I believe they will be able to put their heads together to give you useful feedback so that if cuts must be made, they can be done in a manner that minimizes their impact. Unfunded mandate relief has to be part of any intelligent planning.
Vincent J. Tabone, Esq.
Community District Education Council 26