Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Klein still adding high-paid DOE jobs despite budget woes, hiring freeze

Tuesday, October 7th 2008, 8:14 PM

Joel Klein

Many teachers and parents want to know why Schools Chancellor Joel Klein keeps padding his central office payroll with high-paid bureaucrats when the school system faces $185 million in new budget cuts.

The head count at the Department of Education's Tweed Courthouse headquarters has increased by nearly 400 between October 2004 and last April - a jump of more than 18% in less than four years, the agency's budget documents show.

Amazingly, the DOE was still soliciting applications on its Web site Tuesday for more than 30 new jobs at Tweed - several with astonishing salaries.

This was two weeks after Mayor Bloomberg ordered across-the-board cuts for all city agencies in response to the financial crisis.

The biggest number of new openings was in the Office of Accountability. That's the department that supervises all the new testing and school assessment programs that have become the hallmark of Bloomberg's educational reform program.

Only 19 people worked in accountability in October 2004. By April of this year, the number had mushroomed to 79.

Among the new Tweed openings - some of them with Orwellian titles - found on the DOE Web site this week (along with their potential top salary), were:

- Knowledge Management Domain Leader for Leadership & Organizational Management ($170,000).

- Knowledge Management Domain Leader for Mathematics and Science ($170,000).

- Senior Achievement Facilitator ($170,000).

- Director of School Quality ($170,000).

- Executive Director, Office of Arts and Special Projects ($188,000).

Who says public schools don't pay?

DOE spokesman David Cantor denied there's been a runaway growth in total administrative jobs.

He confirmed that there had been large increases in the accountability office and in the legal department.

Cantor said the job increases at Tweed have been mostly offset by cuts in administrative jobs at regional and field offices throughout the city, so the total management head count has only "grown slightly since 2004."

"They're centralizing the entire bureaucracy, adding all these jobs that don't make any sense to anyone," said Leonie Haimson, director of Class Size Matters, an educational advocacy group. "They're growing like a cancer on the school system."

As for all the new job openings advertised on his Web site, Cantor sounded surprised when told that five new ones had been posted just this week.

"There is a hiring freeze," Cantor said. "No one is hiring anybody. We had a partial hiring freeze and now we have a total hiring freeze."

He could not explain why so many job openings were being posted during a hiring freeze.

One of the last Tweed bureaucrats Klein hired before the freeze took effect appears to be George Raab 3rd, the school system's new chief financial officer.

Raab's previous job should comfort us all. He was managing director at the now defunct Bear Sterns.

Raab will make $196,000, slightly more than the new director of arts and special projects.

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