Tuesday, July 3

Does more state money really mean more accountability?

Elizabeth Green at the New York Sun reports today about the City's use of the upcoming dramatic increase in state education funding, which are supposed to be used in accordance with Governor Spitzer's "Contract for Excellence" initiative. (For more on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity's lawsuit behind the increase and the details of the Contract for Excellence, see Green's article or the recent Insideschools piece on the parent letter to the Board of Regents.)

The city will see an increase of about $700 million for the 2007-2008 school year, and, in principle, this money must be spent on one of the five priorities outlined in Spitzer's Contract for Excellence, including reducing class size, providing after-school programs, and lengthening the school year. However, there are a number of loopholes that allow the money to be used for other purposes, such as charter schools and "experimental programs."

Green writes:

The state had reported in April that $317 million of the new funds would be governed by Mr. Spitzer's accountability plan, called the Contract for Excellence. But new numbers released Thursday will likely leave just $228 million to be governed by the contract's restrictions, a city spokeswoman, Debra Wexler, said.
Some are disappointed with this change, including Michael Rebell, one of the attorneys who brought the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, Green reports.

For an alternative view, check out the dissent by Joe Williams on the Dems for Ed Reform blog.

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