Posted by: Cara Matthews, Gannett Albany Bureau
School districts have until June 6 to apply for the first round of grants for long-term efficiency or cost-savings measures in management and operations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.
The School District Management Efficiency Awards program is one of two new competitive-grant initiatives spearheaded by the governor. The state Education Department, which is administering the program, will distribute a total of $75 million in the next three years.
The other program will give out grants for schools that improve student achievement. The Education Department received about 70 applications by the deadline in February. The awards will range from from a maximum of $100,000 a year in districts with fewer than 750 students to as much as $10 million a year for New York City.
Cuomo said New York needs to invest less in bureaucracy and more in students to become a national leader. All other education aid is given out based on formulas.
"This competitive award program will reward school districts that reduce waste and cut through the bureaucracy to provide better education services to our students," he said in a statement. "This program, along with the ongoing performance grants, will make our education system prioritize delivering better results and raising student achievement to give all our students a better education."
The first round of awards will be announced and awarded during the 2012-13 school year for districts that have most effectively cut unnecessary bureaucratic costs while maintaining the integrity of programs and services for students and teachers, Cuomo said. Examples include reducing the cost of transportation and other administrative overhead. Districts will have to show they are consulting parents, teachers and others in cost-cutting efforts.
School districts will earn bonus points if they have a teacher-evaluation system approved by the state Education Department and in place by Sept. 1. They are required to put a new evaluation system in place factors in student growth on standardized tests and includes other changes. Applicants that show implementation of long-term efficiencies that can be implemented in other districts will receive priority consideration.