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Public School Spending in FY 2012: A Red State Comparison

As discussed in this post the latest education finance data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that New York’s public school spending per student is sky-high, not only in the suburbs but in Upstate New York and even New York City, even adjusted downward downstate for the higher cost of living here, and even compared with adjacent Northeastern states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Although you’d never know it by all the propaganda being put out, primarily by the teachers’ union, claiming that New York’s taxpayers and children deserve less because we aren’t paying enough.

To put New York’s spending in even greater perspective, how about a comparison with a state where public school spending in general, and spending on teachers in particular, really is low? Let’s compare New York with right-wing, low-tax Oklahoma. A few charts and commentary may be found on “Saying the Unsaid In New York.”


Economic Development, Finance and the DeBlasio Administration

One of the most positive trends of the past few years has been an emphasis on creating a culture of entrepreneurship in New York City and State. Until the last few years of the Bloomberg Administration economic development had meant bribing existing large companies, companies that were shrinking over time and threatening to move away, to promise to keep some jobs in New York. Bribing them with tax breaks and subsidies. New York had played this losing hand for years. More recently encouraging people to start new businesses, and at the very least not throwing obstacles in their path, has been the policy. Here as elsewhere the trend has been to latch on to whatever is trendy – new and social media, information technology, biotech, artisanal food products, artisanal alcohol, Greek Yogurt – and ignore everything else. But at least there has been some sense that economic development means encouraging and providing an environment for acts of creation, not just taxing the suckers and transferring money to existing business and unions that are failing in the marketplace but contributing to political campaigns.

With the Democrats back in charge of City Hall I feared that economic development would revert to the bad old days. After all, Bill DeBlasio is yet another ambitious politician who will require campaign cash for his next move, and businesses that do not exist yet do not make campaign contributions. Moreover entrepreneurs have not been part of the Democratic Party coalition since the New Deal, which favored existing large corporations, and entrepreneurs have generally been seen by Democrats as a source of revenues and a foil to be demonized, while existing companies are seen as a source of jobs. The good news, according to some recent reports, is the DeBlasio Administration is apparently unwilling to get in a tax break bidding war with New Jersey over large existing financial businesses threatening to leave the state. It would be better news, however, if the DeBlasio Administration (and Cuomo Administration) would double down on Bloomberg’s late term policy of encouragement for new companies. Particularly those in a decidedly non-trendy sector: banking.


Dominic Carter: Whoopie Goldberg keeps it real at Prison College Graduation

Tonight on RNN/FIOS TV at 6 pm, we are going one-on-one with Whoopie Goldberg from "The View," inside "Sing-Sing" Maximum Security Prison.

All I can say is WOW!!!!

We know Whoppie has an OSCAR, and we know her from Hollywood (Sister Act and playing "Coach Eddie" of the Knicks and let's not forget BROADWAY)

BUT I didn't know she never attended college, and had to overcome the learning disability of being Dyslexic.



Dominic Carter: Whoopie talks College Education for Prison Inmates, her Dyslexia, and dropping out of H.S.

At 6pm  tonight, (Thursday) on RNN/FIOS-TV, we are going on one-on-one with Whoopie Goldberg- on College Education for Prison Inmates.  Goldberg was the Hudson Link Graduation Speaker last night at at the Maximum Security "Sing Sing" Prison.  

 



Dominic Carter: Former Brooklyn DA Using Drug Money to Fuel Campaign?

Dominic Carter Reports: Former Brooklyn DA Using Drug Money to Fuel Campaign? Was office Abused?   This is how we reported on it last night onRNN/FIOS TV Segment here.

 

http://youtu.be/JSXxWJ5NISE



New York’s Sky-High Public School Spending

It doesn’t even get much of a mention in the NYC press anymore, but the education finance data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and released each year shows that New York State’s public school spending per student is sky high, one of the biggest reasons why New York has the highest state and local tax burden on residents and most businesses in the U.S. The Bureau’s report mostly includes data at the state level, but it releases far more detailed data in spreadsheets. In my compilation of the detailed data for FY 2012, FY 2002, and FY 1992 (which includes data for every school district in New York and New Jersey, and which you can find here), I show that New York State’s public school spending is sky high even when it is marked down in Downstate New York to adjust for the higher average private sector wage and cost of living here. It is sky high not only compared with the U.S. average and states like California, North Carolina and Colorado (let alone Tennessee and Oklahoma), but also compared with adjacent Northeastern states such as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, states reputed to have good schools. And it is sky high not only in the Downstate Suburbs, but also in Upstate New York and, in a change from the past, New York City.

Public school spending has soared in New York City, coming off the lows when the city’s schools were underfunded in part because the state aid formula discriminated against its children. The current level of spending seems almost unimaginable for those who have followed the data in the past and still do so today. Just on instructional (mostly teachers) wages, salaries, and benefits, in FY 2012 New York City spent $13,627 per student – or $272,536 per 20 students – even though for most of the city’s children class sizes were far higher. And in reality the cost of the city's teachers was even higher, because the city was underfunding its teacher pension plan, which is deep in the hole as a result of all of the retroactive pension increases over the years, and deferring costs to the future. Despite that sky-high level of spending, however, for a substantial minority of teachers egged on by the United Federation of Teachers (and thanks the way the union has maneuvered to have it distributed), all it bought was an attitude of resentment at how little they were paid. In the late 1990s, when spending levels were far, far lower, the courts had found (in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit) that the city’s schools were so bad they violated the state constitution. But despite a massive increase in spending in the most recent Mayoral campaign, every candidate but one asserted that the city’s schools were no better than they were in the 1990s. Spending has soared with nothing in return, and this is so out of hand as to represent a social injustice. We’ve been robbed. A series of charts and commentary of public school finance over the years may be found on “Saying the Unsaid in New York.”


Should Adopted Children one day, be able to find out who their parents are?

Should Adopted Children one day, be able to find out who their parents are? My answer is Yes! If society does not permit such a move, it is Child abuse itself against adopted and Foster Kids.

 

 



Census of Governments Public School Finance Data: FY 2012, 2002, and 1992

The U.S. Census Bureau released its public education finance data for FY 2012 last Thursday, along with this report which includes data by state and for the 100 largest school districts. http://www2.census.gov/govs/school/12f33pub.pdf I recommend paying attention to Table 11, per pupil revenues and expenditures by category, and Table 12, spending per $1,000 of state residents’ personal income by category, a figure that takes into account the relative cost of living and ability to pay in different states. Table 18 has per pupil amounts for the 100 largest school districts, albeit without such an adjustment. As usual I have downloaded and compiled more detailed data from the Bureau, including more data categories and data for every individual school district in New York, also aggregated into different regions of the state, and every school district in New Jersey. It took 10 hours to do this compilation, mostly because I repeated it for FY 2012, FY 2002, and FY 1992, three roughly economically comparable years that also approximately match the beginning and end of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations in New York City.

The data shows that in FY 2012 New York City spent $22,884 per student, somewhat lower than the average of $23,914 for the Downstate Suburbs but more than the $18,827 for New Jersey, the $18,815 for the Upstate Urban Counties, the $19,354 for the Rest of New York State, the $18,242 in Connecticut, and the $16,076 in Massachusetts. The U.S. average was just $12,295 per student. As usual I have adjusted some of these figures for the higher average private sector wage and cost of living in the Northeast. This reduces the NYC figure to $17,865 per child, still 45.3% higher than the U.S. average but below the average for Upstate New York. Moreover, on an unadjusted basis the city spent $13,627 per student on instructional (mostly teachers) wages and benefits in FY 2012. That is $272,540 for every 20 students and $163,500 for every 12 students – during a time when most New Yorkers were under stress from a weak economy and yet the NYC teacher’s union claimed teachers were underpaid and stoked their resentment and de-motivation. The spreadsheets may be found on “Saying the Unsaid in New York.”


BROOKLYN POLITICS: WHO’S NEXT IN LINE (FOR MOVING ON UP)?

Too often when I write about the Brooklyn political scene, I unnecessarily take a verbal-beating from folks unknown. No big thing; when you are a political writer in New York, you learn to absorb punishment. So here I come again with another column about the “hood”.



Parkslopehenge

In recent years people have made a big deal of “Manahattanhenge,” the otherwise astronomically insignificant day when the rising or setting sun happens to line up with the Manhattan street grid. http://www.amnh.org/our-research/hayden-planetarium/resources/manhattanhenge But there is another street grid in this city that lines up with the rising and setting sun at a no less astronomically auspicious time than the summer and winter solstices. I’m referring to the street grid that begins on Garfield Place in Park Slope and extends down to Windsor Place/Sherman Street in Windsor Terrace.

The angle of the east-west streets is slightly different starting with Carroll Street to the north, and Prospect Avenue to the South. But those in between and on the Park Slope side of the terminal moraine will find the sun setting straight down the street on the summer solstice. For those on the Windsor Terrace side, the sunrise was right down the street on the winter solstice. It was about that time last year that I figured this out, following my curiosity and messing around with this site, and went out and checked. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/


Get Outta Town?

For the past year the State of New York has embarked on an advertising campaign to encourage the growing number of young New York City residents, many newly-arrived from other states and countries and unfamiliar with the rest of the state (unlike those of us who grew up here back when they actually taught state history in the schools), to visit Upstate New York. One sees signs on the subway, for example, and occasionally advertisements on television.

In one sense it is a fine idea. Upstate New York (and the New Jersey Shore) declined as tourist destinations in the Generation Greed era, since that generation took advantage of airline transportation and soaring consumer debt to travel further to more expensive destinations. Younger generations are poorer, any might be inclined to give their great grandparents’ vacation spots a chance if they knew about them. It would be a step up from a “staycation.” But there are some problems. Most of these young New Yorkers don’t have their own cars. Many don’t even have driver’s licenses. And most of the Upstate destinations they might choose to visit are not anywhere near an MTA transit line. So more than an advertising campaign will be required to connect New York City’s growing population of young adults with Upstate New York.