New York City’s public schools spent $18,365 per student in the 2007-2008 school year. That spending has been growing at more than double the rate of inflation over the last decade. That’s a lot of money. But since it isn’t spent very wisely, nowhere near that amount actually reaches the classroom.
Instead of firing teachers for incompetence (and sometimes worse), the district re-assigns bad teachers to “rubber rooms,” where they do nothing except receive their full salary. Maybe play Scrabble or surf the Internet. But mainly sit around and get paid.
Average teacher pay in New York City is approaching $70,000. There are about 700 teachers in rubber rooms. Assuming the rubber room teachers draw roughly average salaries, we’re talking about as much as $50 million that never makes it to the classroom from rubber rooms alone. That’s nearly $50 per student right there.
To make up for some of the money that gets lost in rubber rooms and central offices, schools often have fundraising events like bake sales.
Well, not anymore. At least not bake sales. Those are basically banned in New York City. Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s Department of Education worry that bake sales contribute to child obesity.
Bake sales are technically still legal. But only approved foods can be sold. And only at approved times. And never before the end of lunch hour. And you have to keep detailed records. And so on.
Complying with all the rules is just too difficult for a school basketball team raising money for a new scoreboard, or to cover the cost of traveling to a tournament.
Anything goes after 6:00 pm, food-wise. But hardly anybody stays in school that late. PTAs are given a longer leash. But even they cannot hold more than one bake sale per month.
(Hat tip: Fran Smith)