Reducing Education Bureaucracy by Selling 110 Livingston
Our school system should and must be a system that puts the education of our children first - and not the protection and expansion of bureaucratic jobs. Selling the Board of Education headquarters, and moving a leaner bureaucracy into a much smaller space, will send the right message to a system in desperate need of reform, and will enable us to redirect vital resources into the classroom where they belong.
We're going to give the Board of Education a more modern building
- one of these "smart" buildings, so that they can plug their
computers in better, and take advantage of all the latest technology.
But here's the catch - the new building is only going to be 25% of the
size of the present building. The Board will have to get rid of 75%
of the personnel that sit around doing nothing to help a kid to read,
add, subtract or learn.
All three buildings - 110 Livingston Street, 65 Court Street, and 131 Livingston Street - are owned by the City and are under the jurisdiction and management of the Board of Education. The RFEI seeks proposals from potential buyers interested in acquiring one or more of the buildings. Proposals can include the re-use of existing buildings or demolition and new construction. Permitted uses under existing zoning include office, commercial, residential and community facilities.
These are great sites, and this is an area of the city that has gone through an amazing transformation over the last five years. The sites are also very convenient to The Marriott, the first new hotel built in Brooklyn in the last 50 years, which is actually expanding now. And the buyer of one or more of these sites can take advantage of the tax benefit programs that exist in this area.
We've seen the movement all around the country to cut through the bulky, blurry bureaucracies and give our children the benefit of lean, focused leadership that always makes their achievement the first priority. We're very proud of some of the reforms we've made, of Project Smart Schools, Project Read, and Project Arts; of the new, higher standards; of ending social promotion in key grades; of special education reform; of school-based budgeting; of turning over school safety to the NYPD; of getting charter schools passed at the state level; of governance reform, which is holding superintendents more accountable.
And we're very proud of the principals' contract we negotiated late last year, which finally creates merit-based, productivity-based, and performance-based pay for the educational leaders of our schools. That was a long time coming, but it's a major step forward.
Now we're going to go one step further and sell 110 Livingston Street. I think this will help to illustrate the need to end the Board of Education. This system doesn't work. It hasn't worked in a very long time. It's about time that we move on to a more accountable system.
My goal is simple - to give children a better education in the next millennium than we're giving them right now. We want to leave an educational system in place that is headed in the right direction for all the children of the city.