331 NYC Schools Granted More Control By Mayor

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced June 12 that his office is inviting 331 schools to become what he calls “Empowerment Schools,” meaning they would have more control over hiring, teacher training, curriculum and budgets.

According to a statement released by the mayor, principals at these schools will receive greater discretion over budgets, educational programming, teacher development, school scheduling and hiring. In exchange for greater flexibility and control, principals will sign performance agreements that lay out principals’ new powers, resources and responsibilities. In addition, schools will receive about $100,000 in newly unrestricted funds and about $150,000 in new, discretionary funds made possible by streamlining the central and regional Department of Education (DOE) bureaucracy and redirecting financial resources back to the schools.

“With Empowerment Schools, we’re giving principals the authority and the tools they need to run their schools and in turn, holding them accountable for raising the bar of achievement and making real and measurable progress,” said Bloomberg. “At the same time, we’re streamlining the bureaucracy and putting our resources where they belong – back in our classrooms with our kids.”

This year, 48 schools participated in the pilot program. According to the mayor’s office, approximately 80 percent of schools in the first year met and fulfilled target goals. Schools in the autonomy zone outperformed citywide averages as well as their own past performance prior to entering the pilot program.

The DOE has identified about $80 million in savings to fund these initiatives. This is comprised of about $50 million from the regional offices (a reduction of about 350 jobs) and about $30 million from central offices.

For additional information, call (212) 788-2958.

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