New York’s public education system needs to reevaluate its irresponsible and outlandish spending habits.
In their “race to the top” funding proposal, New York executives demanded brand new furniture for their own offices. Not just any cheap furniture would do. These bureaucrats insisted on the best—their proposal included designer executive chairs priced at $550 each. Their entire new proposed setup included desks and bookcases at $3,000 a piece, and printers costing more than $1,500 each—all together their new setup would cost taxpayers $200,000. With so many failing New York public schools, it is troubling that officials believed that the best use of taxpayer money was expensive furniture for themselves.
In addition, new reports show that New York’s tax funded charter schools are recklessly spending money. The New York Times reported that the Niagara Charter School has spent thousands of tax dollars on restaurant meals, alcohol and plane tickets. The Family Life Charter School pays $400,000 every year to rent rooms from the Latino Pastoral Action Center. Coincidently, Rev. Raymond Rivera happens to be the founder of Latino Pastoral Action Center and the founder of Family Life Charter School. Essentially, Rev. Raymond Rivera is paying himself $400,000 taxpayer dollar to rent his own building. One New York charter school spent $67,951 on staff trips to the Caribbean on the taxpayer’s dime.
The New York Times received this information when the teacher’s union obtained reports by the state Education Department. The teacher’s union– who are opposed to charter schools– leaked the wasteful spending habits of these schools to the Times. Yet, New York non-charter public schools also severely lack fiscal transparency. Of all the states, New York public schools spends the most per pupil—$15,651 annually. Several states including Texas thanks to the efforts of Peyton Walcott have all of their public school spending online for taxpayers to access. Due to this, Texas public schools have become more transparent and fiscally responsible spending $7,818 annually per pupil. While Texas spends half the amount of money on public schools, Texas and New York have virtually identical student test scores. Perhaps New York public schools would be more fiscally responsible if all of their spending habits were also on an easily accessible website for everyone to see.