It turns out teachers aren't quite so special after all. Mayoral budget guru William Singer said last week that while most city employees would not be getting raises under the proposed 2010 budget, teachers were "a special case."
"There is money in the proposed budget for a performance-based teacher contract," he said in a March 25 e-mail. It was included, he said, in the money allocated under the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF). Singer wouldn't say how much, because contract negotiations between the teachers union and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who supports merit pay, were on going.
"However, we believe District and other funds will be sufficient to support a compensation structure that is consistent with the Chancellor's statements."
Not so, says Rhee spokeswoman Dena Iverson. "Will's comments were referring to the many costs of the initiatives affiliated with implementing a new contract," she said, adding that "the payroll increases and the performance pay system we have proposed are dependent on funding from foundations."
What those "initiatives affiliated with implementing a new contract" might be, Iverson couldn't say. Singer did not respond to calls or e-mails.