Teacher centers get $14 million in budget

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The approximately 125 Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers in the state got a last-minute reprieve in the 2011-12 budget with a $14.3 million allocation in the budget year, which is $20.4 million for the school year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget did not include any money for the training program, which was set up 26 years ago following an agreement of the Legislature, state Education Department and New York State United Teachers. The Senate’s one-house budget resolution mirrored the governor’s on that issue, but the Assembly had $32.5 million in its one-house spending plan.

That’s follows no state funding in 2010-11 and a $35 million allocation two years ago using federal stimulus money.

NYSUT pushed for setting aside some state money for teacher centers, saying that not providing any would shift more of the financial burden for training teachers to school districts. There is a need for training with the state Education Department preparing to roll out a new teacher and principal evaluation system, and new standards, curriculum and tests. Teachers certified since 2004 have to get 175 hours of professional development every five years.

It was unclear until yesterday whether the teacher centers would see any funding in the new fiscal year. Lawmakers were focused on what restorations they could make to Cuomo’s proposed cuts of more than $1 billion in school aid. The governor and the Legislature had to close a $10 billion deficit.

Centers have been able to use the state money to help leverage about $50 million in programs through public/private partnerships with companies like Verizon and Microsoft.

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7 Comments

  1. There ought to be an investigation into how these funds are actually being used.

    These teacher centers are a big patronage mill and money maker for the teachers unions. The union gets this free $$ from the state, they then charge teachers an additional amount for the trainings the centers provide. The centers carry fund balances (like the school districts), meaning they don’t actually need this money.

    The worst part about these teacher centers is how the teachers leave for their trainings at the expense of the students. Rather than have trainings after school or on weekends, the teachers leave the classroom during school hours, depriving students of their necessary education. Ridiculous.

  2. One TC Director on

    The comment above in no way describes how our Teacher Center works. The unions receive none of this money. Teachers, who of course are members of these unions, participate in training, which is free to them. The Teacher Center pays the trainer, period. 90% of the training is done after school. It is only when school districts request it that training is held during the school day. Teacher Centers also pay teachers who participate in carefully monitored but self-directed study groups.

  3. Concerned Teacher on

    Killer Bee needs to check his facts, unless that was an April Fools Joke! Unions do NOT receive any money from teacher centers. The entire amount awarded to teacher centers is spent only on programs to improve the skills of our teachers. Our center ONLY offers workshops after school, not during the school day. In addition. a small fee is only charged if the teacher center budget can not afford to completely pay for a program, as was the case when funds were reduced in prior years. These fees are mostly paid by the teacher, NOT the district. Many of the centers across the state have been struggling to stay open this past year with NO funding from the state. This would not have been possible for another year! Without teacher centers, many of our state’s educators would not have had the exceptional opportunities presented by teacher centers which provide research-based, teacher-driven, cost-effective professional development which helps teachers improve their skills which in turn HELP our children. In a time when teachers are being asked to prove their performance is NOT the time to take away their source of improvement. I am very happy that the state legislators realized the necessity and reliability of a highly effective 26-year program! Thanks to everyone who provided their support!

  4. Weitz & Clutzemberg on

    Who cares about facts??? It’s the season to bash unions and municipal workers! Didn’t you get the memo? Municipal workers are the cause for the economic meltdown, inflation, unemployment, and the earthquake in Japan. Pensions! That’s the ticket! The pensions have caused our country to collapse. You didn’t know that municiapl workers are a waste of a paycheck and are scammers because they get a pension?? Forget about facts……just know what you’re being told. Pensions are the cause of all our economic woes. During those great Clinton years, when companies like Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, ECNC, were all doing wonderful, handing out billions of dollars on reported phony profits, none of this led to the economic meltdown. Nope. Had nothing to do with it as a matter of fact. All that fraud on Wall Street, handing out money like nothing based on profits that were cooked-books BS, that wasn’t a problem. It’s those unions. It’s those folks who actually work at the same job for 20 years and earn a onesion. Yeah….they’re the real scammers! The ones who make like $130K per year (no mention how the worker has to put in like 90 hours per month overtime to earn money like that and never get to see or enjoy his kids), yeah, that’s the REAL culprit!

  5. just the facts on

    stop obscuring the issue..its not about pensions per se..its about the way pensions
    are computed…no public employee ever should get a pension based on the amount
    of overtime he works in the final year of work…so if you never made more than 85,000 a
    year you get to double that amount for the rest of your life compliments of the taxpayers
    no wonder pension costs are wildly out of control…you cannot defend that practice and
    you cannot defend how overtime just happens to be distributed only to those about
    to retire…that’s the scam..and that’s what is going to stop..no one is saying that after
    working 25years a public employee shouldn’t get a pension..but that pension should
    be a percentage of his highest 3 years not a multiplier of it…allowing public employees
    to retire at age 52 on 150,000 a year makes them the equivalent of multi milionaires
    at 4% you would hav to have 4 million in the bank to get that kind of income…
    taxpayers are not willing to subsidize that kind of folly and states cannot afford it
    going forward..these were backroom deals made by unions with politicians of both
    parties in return for political support..its legalized theavery plain and simple

  6. Weitz & Clutzemberg on

    I guess you haven’t been reading all the blogs these past 20 months. Everything, EVERYTHING, is blamed on unions, pensions, municipal workers, etc. Scammers, lazy, double-dipping if they dare enter the work force after retirement, etc. etc. Like helll municipal workers and pensions aren’t blamed for everything. But when 25 year old kids were making six figure bonuses off of profits that weren’t really profits but rather phony book-cooking, that didn’t hurt. No, of course not. A guy works 30 years as a cop or a sanitation worker, base pay 76,000, you tell me the city or county didn’t get their money’s worth out of this guy? How many lawyers you know 30 years at a firm and they make $76,000? The pension makes up for all the money NOT made over the years. Besides, the average fireman and cop live 6.5 years after retirement before dropping dead from stress, and his pension dies with him.

  7. Dear Killer: You couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Teacher Centers (and I have been to almost every one in the state – you?) are filled with dedicated educators. Their goal is to bring quality, very inexpensive professional development to the educators of this state. As a private service provider, my program has been able to bring free instruction and free classroom resources to districts across the state through the efforts of the Teacher Centers. Why not visit a Teacher Center and attend a class before you condemn them?