Budgeting the Current Economic Crisis Case Study

Pages: 7 (2526 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Teaching


The current economic crisis is having ripple affects for the New York City Public Schools. This is because lower tax revenues and declining budgets are exacerbating the various problems that have existed in the system; the most notable would include underperforming schools and budgets. These two issues are important because many of the politicians and schools officials have been attempting to close down those schools that are underperforming. A recent example of this can be seen with the City's plan to close down 19 underperforming schools, despite an injunction that was granted by the Manhattan State Supreme Court. (Otterman, 2010) The reason why this contentious issue is being brought to the forefront is the sobering reality that the achievement scores of many students throughout the school system are falling behind other students. Evidence of this can be seen by looking no further than the fact that only 25% of the fourth grade students are up to the reading assessment standards required by the National Assessment of Education Progress. This number has not improved over the last several years, as it is has remained at consistently low levels. (Raymond, 2010) As a result, statistics like this are forcing many school officials to take draconian measures when it comes to the budget. In the case of School District number 15, they are facing a similar situation as many other school districts throughout the city. To effectively balance the budget and improve the overall quality of education requires that you examine what programs should be cut, the areas of the school that are suffering the most as well as what regulations would restrict budget cuts in certain areas. This will provide the greatest insights as to how the unnecessary spending can be reduced, while increasing the overall quality of education that is being provided to students.

A description of the district

Case Study on Budgeting the Current Economic Crisis Is Having Assignment

In this assessment we will be focusing on the elementary schools located in district 15. The overall demographics of the district would include: 44% Hispanic, 27% African-American, 18% white and 11% would fall under other nationalities (such as Asian or Pacific Islander). There are currently a total of 26,091 students attending school in district 15. On the elementary level there are a total of 25 schools, while the middle school level has 15 schools and the high school level has 13 schools. The size of the different schools will vary from as low as 60 students to as high as 1,115 students. In general the annual income of the school district is lower than the state average. Evidence of this can be found by looking no further than the total students who are receiving free lunches, with 67% of the student in the district qualifying. This is in comparison with the state average of 41%. There are also higher amounts of students who are not proficient in English, where 15% of the student body is wrestling with such challenges; this is in comparison with 7% for the state. The graduation rates are lower in the district compared with the rest of the state. Where, there is a total graduation rate of 54%, while the state average is 76% (" NYC Geographic District 15: Brooklyn," 2010) What all of this shows is that district 15 has a population demographic that is making less money in comparison with the state average. There are large amounts of minorities and immigrants that attend schools throughout the district. The overall school sizes will vary depending upon the scope and focus of the different schools. The graduation rates for the district are lower in comparison with the state average graduation rates.

A description of budgetary issues and why it merits attention at this time.

District 15 is going to be facing some tough decisions about what programs to cut and how much. This is because the State of New York has failed to qualify for a $700 million federal grant. What happened was; the state came in second out of 16 different states that were vying for this grant. The reason why New York was denied was because of the law that student assessment scores could not be used as part of determining tenure. This is problematic because New York City would have received $250 million from the grant. Therefore, administrators and educators have no choice but to deal with the reality of severe budget cuts. This is because the state is currently facing $9.2 billion budget deficit. Under current law the state is required to balance the budget. As a result, the schools and other programs will face budget cuts that could result in as many as 14,000 teachers being laid off in June. (Medina, 2010) This is significant because it underscores the overall severity of the cuts that will be coming to all school districts throughout the state. Because the income level is lower in district 15 in comparison to the rest of the state and the large amounts of minorities, means that many critical programs could be eliminated. If a responsible approach is not taken on ways to reduce the overall amounts of spending, then it could mean that the overall quality of education will be reduced. Given the lower achievement scores and graduation rates of the district; means that the pressure could increase to close the different schools that are performing poorly. This is problematic because many of these schools might not have been given the opportunity to improve scores; when they are forced to cut the overall amounts of spending on those programs that could make a difference. In way district 15 is caught in a catch 22 type of scenario, where if they cut the wrong programs, achievement scores and graduation rates will drop. While at the same time, being forced to deal with the stark reality of budget shortfalls for the upcoming school year.

A description and analysis of the budgetary issues (probable causes citing specific data or reference from conversations with site supervisor.)

To fully understand the overall budget issues that are facing the district requires that you examine how this is affecting the individual school. The way that this will be accomplished is by looking at a specific elementary school, PS 261 Philip Livingston. In 2009 -- 2010 the school experienced a budget shortfall of $225, 251. ("FY 10 School Budget Overview," 2010) With the state facing a severe budget shortfall, the school will be forced to make even more drastic cuts this year. Some of these cuts could be mitigated by working with outside organizations that would help provide assistance in a number of different areas. While other programs, risk the possibility of being eliminated entirely.

That being said, the federal stimulus money is currently available to the school to help mitigate these effects. Currently, the state is expected to receive $961 million under the program the American Recovery and Investment Act (ARRA). This is up from the amount allocated last year, $952 million. (Raab, 2009) These funds provide the principal with their own discretion, as to how they will most effectively be utilized on the school level. Last year the school received a total of $602,280 from the ARRA program, with an overall budget of $6,234,864. ("FY 10 School Budget Overview," 2010) This year, the projected budget is $6,466,362, which is above the budget from last year. To maintain a balanced budget with last year, Philip Livingston will have to cut some programs and then account for the increase in the federal stimulus. The total percentage that the school receive of the federal stimulus last year was .026% ($602,280 / $952 million = .068%). Assuming that the overall percentage allocation of stimulus money would remain the same, means the school should more than likely see $653,480 ($961 million * .068% = $653,480) from the ARRA program. This is $51, 200 more than was received last year. This would bring the total budget deficit down to $174,051.

When looking at the Livingston's budget there are two areas that could be reduced to address the obvious shortfall these would include: the guidance counselor (which has an annual cost of $93,045) and the literacy coach (which has an annual cost of $66,435). The total savings from eliminating these two programs is $159,480. This would reduce the total budget deficit to $14,571. At which point, you can make up for the reduction in school aides / other support staff (which has a total budget of $145,328). ("Fiscal Year 2010 Budget,' 2010) When you examine the proposed cuts, they would not sacrifice the overall quality of education that is being provided. This is because you are eliminating those personnel that are not as essential. Where, the roles of guidance counselor and literacy coach could be outsourced to other community outreach programs that can work with the school. The areas that could suffer the most, are those where some students may not be able to seek counseling when they need it. There could be less assistance available for those students who are… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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