Education news. In context.
Diversity & Equity
Politics & Policy
Teaching & Classroom
Student & School Performance
Leadership & Management
Charters & Choice
Find a Job
How to be a Chalkbeat source
Republish Our Stories
Code of Ethics
Our News Partners
Work with Us
January 14, 2014
State student enrollment grows 1.6 percent
Preschool through 12th grade enrollment in Colorado increased by 13,438 students in the current school year, the rough equivalent of adding a district the size of Littleton.
December 20, 2013
State-run district’s per-pupil expenditure not included on state report card
When Tennessee’s department of education rolled out a sleek new "report card" last month to help parents compare school districts, it did not include how much money its own Achievement School District (ASD) spends on each child. It did include that information for every other district in the state.
December 16, 2013
$1.3 billion budget request targets teacher training and pre-K
Nearly a quarter of a $1.3 billion request for extra funds by the Board of Regents is targeted toward training teachers, communicating with parents and adding more preschool seats. The targeted funds, which total $300 million, are four times more than what the Regents asked for last year and represent a significantly larger share of the budget request. Officials said the proposal, which includes $125 million for professional development for teachers, was in part an acknowledgement of new challenges faced due to Common Core standards and teacher evaluations. Regent James Tallon, chair of the state aid committee, called the funding "a discrete commitment to professional development" to address concerns that teachers and schools weren't being supported enough to effectively implement statewide policies.
November 21, 2013
Mulgrew: Final spending plan a “classic Bloomberg budget game”
Calling it a “classic Bloomberg budget game,” teachers union boss Michael Mulgrew panned new revenue estimates for the city’s 2015 spending plan as lower than…
September 6, 2013
Colorado districts struggle to get a handle on fed cuts
Districts around the state fear they’ll lose more federal funds because of continuing budget squabbles in Washington, but it’s tricky to add up how much money is in jeopardy.
June 26, 2013
In council discretionary spending, evidence of shifting priorities
The City Council increased its discretionary spending on some big-ticket topics this year, funneling more money into senior and health services. But when it came to education initiatives, the total that the council is disbursing actually dropped slightly since last year, from $17.95 million to $17.64 million. Most of the grantees are the same ones that the council has funded for years, according to details published today in Schedule C, the council's annual list of discretionary awards. But a few key differences reflect substantial changes in the city's fiscal picture — and education priorities. Last year, the council allocated $3 million to avert layoffs of school workers, which Mayor Bloomberg had threatened. This year, with no layoffs on the line, that money could go elsewhere. The council put $1.55 million into the middle school expanded learning time initiative that the city will operate at 20 struggling middle schools this fall. It also increased its spending on the Teacher's Choice program, which gives teachers discretionary funding to spend on classroom supplies.
June 4, 2013
Walcott refuses to speak under oath at council's budget hearing
Chancellor Dennis Walcott and education officials testify at a hearing on the 2013-2014. budget Chancellor Dennis Walcott's testy budget hearing with the City Council on Tuesday got confrontational before it even started. The hearing was delayed by nearly an hour as Walcott huddled with city lawyers to discuss whether he should agree to get sworn in under oath before answering questions about the city's $24.9 billion education spending plan for the 2013-2014 school year. The unprecedented request was made because council members believed he had not answered questions truthfully earlier this year. Under advisement from lawyers, Walcott refused. After the hearing, Walcott said he didn't want to complicate city lawsuits about issues that were likely to come up at the hearing. He also said that the department wasn't notified until Tuesday morning when he arrived at City Hall. "I would never hide from anything," Walcott said. "I'm always accessible. I always respond to everything. But I have a responsibility with pending litigation to make sure I know what the legal implications are."
May 9, 2013
IBO: City could save money by eliminating principal bonus pay
The Independent Budget Office's latest suggestion for how to cut costs at the Department of Education is to cut a performance pay program for school administrators that the Bloomberg administration convinced the principals union to accept. Since 2007, the department has distributed about $6 million a year to principals and assistant principals on the basis of their schools' progress report scores. Last year, 275 administrators — including some who were under investigation at the time — took home $5.7 million, with individual rewards as high as $25,000, for principals at the top 1 percent of schools. Department officials said today that this year's bonuses, based on 2011-2012 progress reports, are in the process of being paid out now. In its annual "Options" report listing ways for the city to save funds and raise revenue, the IBO argues that the performance pay might be better off conserved. The annual report is meant to inform city government officials as they head into their final negotiations before adopting a budget for the 2014 fiscal year. The education department, which takes up about a quarter of the city's planned spending, was listed in 14 of the 80 suggestions this year. For each cost-cutting idea, the IBO lists arguments that supporters and opponents might make. For the performance pay idea, the report notes, "Proponents might argue that the more weight that is placed on the Progress Reports, the more incentive there is for administrators and teachers to 'teach to the test' and even to manipulate data. Moreover, the remaining measurement problems in the Progress Reports might imply that the basis for awarding the bonuses is flawed."
May 2, 2013
Bloomberg pitches gloomy forecast for retroactive teacher pay
Bloomberg presents his final spending plan. Mayor Bloomberg said today that a deal to give teachers retroactive raises to make up for five years without a new contract would cost billions and cripple the city's financial stability. "It's just something the city can't possible afford," said Bloomberg, who made the remarks while presenting a $69.8 billion spending plan, the final proposal of his administration. Retroactive raises for the more than 100 municipal labor unions and organizations with expired contracts is a looming issue for the city's fiscal future and in the mayoral campaign to replace Bloomberg. Bloomberg has refused to negotiate new deals if it means the inclusion of the raises, which would total 8 percent for the city's 80,000 teachers. He estimated today that costs from retroactive teacher raises would be $3.8 billion in 2014 and $1 billion every year after. Raises for all city workers would cost a combined $7.8 billion in 2014 and $3 billion in subsequent years, he said.
May 2, 2013
In Bloomberg's final budget proposal, a perpetual fight returns
Mayor Bloomberg's final budget, which he is unveiling today, is likely to include new details on how changes to the city's state school aid will affect the Department of Education. In January, when Bloomberg made his preliminary budget proposal, the city faced losing $250 million because it had not agreed on a teacher evaluation system with its union. Bloomberg said the bulk of the cuts would come from individual schools. But wrangling in Albany resulted in the city's state school funding being revised upward, even though the teacher evaluation penalty was not technically rescinded. That means the Department of Education's budget might be in the best shape it has been since the start of a series of recession-induced budget cuts in 2008. But the funding picture for other programs and departments that affect children is likely to be less sunny. Bloomberg's initial budget proposal included steep cuts to after-school and child care programs, just as he originally proposed last year.
March 25, 2013
Long march begins for long bill
The state budget bill launched Monday has good news for education, but it may be only the start of the story for K-12.
March 22, 2013
City schools budget still in flux, but rainy-day funds are restored
Principals who were in the final stages of a school-supplies spending spree might want to put their wallets away. Back in January, Chancellor Dennis Walcott told principals that they would not be able to save any of their school's funds from this year to use next year, a practice that allows schools to plan ahead in an uncertain budget climate. That gave the principals an incentive to spend down their last dollars this spring. But hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a state budget deal earlier this week, bringing the Department of Education's financial situation into clearer relief, Walcott announced that he had retracted the decree.
January 29, 2013
Mulgrew faces legislators, as Walcott promises to revisit sunset
ALBANY — Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan kept her promise to question UFT President Michael Mulgrew with the same tenacity as when she interrogated Mayor Bloomberg on Monday. Nolan chastised Bloomberg for his role in New York City's failure to reach a teacher evaluation deal, which will likely cost the city $240 million in state school aid. Today, she told Mulgrew, "This is the fault of labor and management together." Nolan chairs the Assembly's education committee and usually sympathizes with the union on education issues. "It is unbelievable to me that this union, with its great history, could not negotiate this deal," Nolan added as she questioned Mulgrew, whose testimony before the legislature was supposed to be about the 2013-2014 state budget but focused instead on the failed evaluation deal and issues surrounding upcoming assessments aligned to new standards. Mulgrew and Chancellor Dennis Walcott, whose testimony earlier in the day generated less confrontation, both told the legislature that they are open to resuming negotiations. Walcott even conceded that a misunderstanding could have fueled one major issue preventing a deal.
January 29, 2013
Bloomberg lists central budget cuts to accompany schools' hit
Following up on his promise to detail school budget cuts required by the collapse of a teacher evaluation deal earlier this month, Mayor Bloomberg today described how he plans to reduce costs in the Department of Education's central administration. The rest of the $250 million funding will cut come from schools, Bloomberg said during a press conference in which he announced the first city budget revision to reflect costs incurred from Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the cuts that Chancellor Dennis Walcott outlined in an email to principals on Monday, Bloomberg said he would restrict hiring centrally and eliminate vacancies in areas such as administration, human resources, budget, and help desk staff. He said the city would also cut non-personnel costs--the costs of running an office that don't include staff salaries--in administrative and field-based offices by 90 percent, and reduce spending on contracts for services such as youth development, professional development, and anti-bullying programs.
January 22, 2013
Pre-K, teacher quality top education agenda in Cuomo's budget
Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his budget address to issue a teacher evaluations ultimatum heard around the state. This year, Cuomo took that ultimatum and raised it, telling districts that he would again tie their increases in school aid to having new teacher evaluation systems on the books but that he would also reward some of their highest-rated teachers. Cuomo also set new funding for full-day pre-kindergarten in high-need school districts, early college programs to help high school students accelerate, and extended day programs that he introduced in his State of the State address earlier this month. And he announced that the state would require teachers to clear a new hurdle, a "bar exam," before being certified to work in New York State. We'll have more about Cuomo's education budget proposals later today, including his answers to three open questions about how he would fund schools. For now, here's the education section of his budget highlights sheet: The 2013-14 Executive Budget reflects a continued commitment to supporting improved student outcomes, sustainable cost growth, and equitable distribution of aid.
In your inbox.
Chalkbeat New York
How I Teach
Ready or Not
Rise & Shine Colorado
Rise & Shine Detroit
Rise & Shine Indiana
Rise & Shine Tennessee
The Starting Line