Could North Avenue get too small?
At last night's budget hearing, Dr. Alonso said he's proud to likely be the first city schools superintendent accused of shrinking the bureaucracy too much. The most protest seems to be coming over the downsizing and merging of the content-related offices: science, social studies, math. Science, technology and math would be consolidated into a new STEM office, and social studies would fall under humanities. These are not big offices to begin with, and under the proposal, they'll only have a few staff members each. Alonso points out that charter schools don't work with content specialists at a central office, and the instructional leaders on the new support networks can help principals work through specific issues.
Bebe Verdery of the ACLU testified at the hearing about how helpful the staff from the math, science and social studies offices have been in training teachers to get kids to pass Bridge projects. Without that help available, she questioned whether as many seniors would be on track to graduate and whether students would be put at a disadvantage next year. When Alonso made his comment about being proud to be told "how I shouldn't be cutting the bureaucracy, how I should be restoring North Avenue," Verdery responded: "I don't see these people as bureaucrats. I see them as educators who are doing a good job."
Once again, you can get your budget documents -- including the proposed organizational chart -- here.
There will be a second budget hearing same time, same place next week (6 p.m. Thursday at North Avenue). The hearings on school closure and mergers will be at 6 p.m. April 16 at Poly and at 9 a.m. April 18 at the Lake Clifton complex.