The city’s Department of Education staffing costs are rising sharply in the wake of a 2014 teachers union contract inked by Mayor de Blasio, according to a watchdog report.
The New York City Independent Budget Office found that de Blasio’s preliminary $24.371 billion 2018 school budget rose by about $1.05 billion, due in large part to teacher salary hikes.
That deal included annual pay bumps through October 2018 along with retroactive boosts to be allocated between 2016 and 2021. Most of those costs will attach to DOE budgets over the final three years of the arrangement, according to the IBO.
Salaries and benefits for all DOE employees — not just teachers — are slated to rise by $823 million, or 5.7 percent, in de Blasio’s preliminary 2018 budget, the report said. That represents about 78 percent of the $1.05 billion budget hike.
“By the end of 2018, total DOE staffing would be nearly 13,000 greater than in 2013, the report states. “Yet, only about half the increase in budgeted personal costs since 2013 is the product of increased head count; the rest of the increase is due to the higher salaries.”
The IBO said de Blasio’s DOE personnel-cost hikes have far outpaced those seen during former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last term.
Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers failed to reach a contract agreement during the final four years of his reign, a standoff that froze teacher salary structures.
UFT brass said the hikes were belated and well-earned.
“After years of a frozen schedule under the prior administration, Mayor de Blasio agreed to a contract for more competitive salaries for the people who teach and work with the city’s public school children,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.
Higher charter-school costs are also responsible for increasing DOE budget numbers, according to the IBO.
In absolute terms, annual charter spending increases under the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations have been comparable, the report states.
“In relative terms, however, the rate of growth in funding for non-DOE schools was more rapid under Mayor Bloomberg than Mayor de Blasio because the earlier increases were built on a much smaller base,” according to the IBO.
Including the preliminary 2018 budget, “the amount dedicated to DOE operations since the beginning of the de Blasio administration will have increased by $4.1 billion,” the report states.
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