Friday, August 27, 2010

DOE is eliminating the EGCSR program

According to their budget allocation memos, DOE is eliminating Early Grade Class size reduction program, which started in 1999, meant to hire extra teachers in grades K-3 to reduce class size to 20 or below.  They had promised to keep this program intact, as part of their citywide class size reduction plan under the C4E, but now have retroactively deep-sixed it, perhaps so no one can audit it again, as the city comptroller did last year.

Yet as far as I know, they have gone through no process with the state to cancel it.

(According to the document still posted on their page entitled “Contracts for Excellence: Class Size Reduction” Updated January 27, 2009 Updated Five Year Class Size Reduction Plan; It says: the Department continues to be committed to reducing class size in early grades via the Early Grade Class Size Reduction program."  See also NYC Comptroller, “Audit report on the Department of Education’s Administration of the Early grade class size reduction program, fm09-113a, September 9, 2009.  For more background, see NYC Public School Parent blog, Class size audit: another broken promise to our children, Sept. 11, 2009.)

Here is the new budget allocation memo, now called “School Support Supplement.”

In FY11, the allocation category Early Grade Class Size Reduction (EGCSR-State) will be
renamed “School Support Supplement.” This does not change the school allocations. Schools
which last year received funds under Early Grade Class Size Reduction (EGCSR -State) will
continue to receive these funds but through the new allocation category, “School Support

The change in name reflects a decision made by New York State in FY08 to convert EGCSR
(State) into unrestricted Foundation Aid. Although no longer required to do so by New York State,
in FY08, the DOE chose to continue EGCSR (State) in order to minimize disruptions to schools
during a year in which both a new school allocation method – Fair Student Funding -- and the new
State-mandated Contract for Excellence program were implemented for the first time. In FY09 and
FY10, the DOE continued EGCSR (State) but afforded schools more flexibility to use funds to
either open classrooms or provide push-in and team teaching methods.

Particularly in the context of the large budget reductions experienced in FY10 and FY11, schools
receiving School Support funds may use these funds to retain classes formerly funded with State
EGSCR allocations as well as to support other instructional priorities as needed.

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