Monday, February 7, 2011

Cuomo Attacks Superintendents

New York Hatchman Cuomo
Is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo trying to appease unions by going after superintendents?

Not likely. He wants to cut NYC school funding to 2007 levels and reduce statewide school spending by $1.5 billion, a move that will surely result in layoffs and/or furloughs. He’s also under pressure from Bloomberg to dismantle tenure and seniority protections and has implied he is not opposed to this. There is nothing he could do to superintendents that could make up for these attacks on teachers and students.

Nevertheless, Cuomo is attacking superintendent pay as a way to help close the state’s budget deficit. He claims that over 40% of New York superintendents earn at least $200,000 per year in pay and benefits, while some earn over $500,000, more than double what he earns. Cathy Black, chancellor of NYC schools, earns $250,000 per year, not including benefits, while Carole Harkin, in Syosset Long Island, makes $386,868. The national average for superintendents is $160,000 per year.

While superintendent pay is generally a small drop in the bucket compared with the staggering deficits facing many states, it is certainly a good place to trim the fat. The idea of paying a quarter to a half million dollars per year to a fat cat who sits in an office dismantling public education while teachers are fired, classes cut, and class sizes grow, ought to be very unpopular with the public.  By setting salary caps, as Gov. Chris Christie has done in N.J., there may be less incentive for Broad-trained CEOs to consider running school districts in the first place.

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