As the city moves to freeze teacher salaries, the Education Department has quietly given raises to 45 bureaucrats, administrators and other non-school staffers, the Daily News has learned.
The $340,000 in pay hikes went into effect just weeks before Mayor Bloomberg decided to eliminate across-the-board teacher raises to avert widespread layoffs.
"At the same time the Department of Ed was threatening layoffs of 4,400 teachers, they seemed to be handing out much-needed funding," said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. "The money in tough economic times is supposed to be for schools and children, and not for highly paid bureaucrats at central DOE."
The new raises come on top of $500,000 in pay increases doled out during an agency reshuffling in April that upped the number of deputy chancellors to eight from three.
Education Department officials vigorously defended the raises, approved by Chancellor Joel Klein and his deputies, saying they were designed to compensate staffers for increased responsibility or for filling a vacancy in a more senior position.
And indeed, some of the employees were promoted to positions of authority in the agency, such as a deputy becoming the head of small-school development.
Of the 10 employees who received raises of 10% or more, only two were taking on new jobs - the other eight had "additional responsibilities," officials said.
Midnight raises for DOE officials, a morning salary freeze for teachers.
And of course the op-ed writers at the Times cheered, using words like "sensible," "fair," and "an equitable solution in tough times..."
Just as I predicted they would say.
Are the midnight salary hikes at the DOE, the 4% raises handed out to City Council and Mayoral staffs, the $5 million to the NTP and all the no-bid contracts "sensible," "fair," and "equitable solutions in tough times"?
Must the recession be funded solely on the backs of hard-working teachers?