The Stuyvesant budget for the 2009 fiscal year, a total of 17,006,184 dollars, is allocated unevenly among the different departments. Math and science receive more money than other subjects.
The math and science departments will receive a total of 28 percent of the budget, or 4,769,249 dollars. In comparison, the English and social studies departments will receive only 3,677,225 dollars, 22 percent of the budget.
The disproportionate allocation of money reflects spending on faculty. Currently, Stuyvesant has 32 faculty members for science, 28 for math, 24 for social studies, 22 for English, 16 for languages and seven for technology.
Although math is only a three-year requirement, the department has the second largest number of faculty members. According to Principal Stanley Teitel, more teachers are needed because of the large number of students who voluntarily continue to take math courses in their senior year.
“Most of our student body takes four years [of math],” Teitel said. “We carry about 20 calculus classes, and with 34 students to a class, that’s 680 students total.”
According to Teitel, because Stuyvesant is a math, science and technology high school, “that’s where our money is. I’m spending my money by who we are.”
“Some departments have more teachers than others because more students request those classes,” junior Petros Skalarinis said. “Stuy is a math and science school, so of course the math and science departments would have more staff than the other departments. The students want those classes and electives.”
Junior Tecla Walter agreed. “We are a math and science school,” she said. “People here are more interested in math. The interest in English is sub par to our education.”
According to Teitel, the science department has the most teachers, and thus receives the most money. There are relatively many biology electives. For example, while there are 32 elective courses in biology, there are only 16 for the social studies department.
Assistant Principal Biology Elizabeth Fong said the reason behind this is that the biology electives are some of the most popular electives. As a result, the biology department consists of 14 teachers, while the chemistry and physics departments both have nine.
According to Teitel, biology also has the most electives because it offers more fields to take electives in, such as Oceanography and Psychology.
“Chemistry and physics don’t have as many electives,” Fong said. “They teach mainly AP [Advanced Placement] courses.”
Students, however, said that they would like to see Stuyvesant provide them with more electives for departments other than biology.
“Even though I really like bio, every department should have the same amount of money. It should be equalized,” freshman Chris Hao said. “We should have more electives for chemistry and physics.”
“It’s ridiculous to have so many more teachers for that one subject,” sophomore Nicole Brezinski said. “We should have the same amount of teachers in the chemistry or physics departments. Maybe then they’d get better electives.”
The English department has 22 faculty members because, according to Teitel, the maximum class size for a Freshman Composition class is lower than that of any other class. Although Department of Education (DOE) policy states that academic class sizes cannot exceed 34 students, Teitel has been aiming to place a cap of 25 students in each freshman class.
Assistant Principal English Eric Grossman said that while he does not mind the amount of money the math department is given, he’d “love to see more resources allocated to the English department.”
“It would help our students to become better writers. It would allow teachers to respond more thoroughly to student work and would help to reduce the truly back breaking paperwork that English teachers take upon themselves and deal with remarkably well,” Grossman said. “It would also help to achieve the target goal of 25 students per Freshman Composition class.”
However, with Stuyvesant set to lose 754,000 dollars of its budget due to upcoming budget cuts, it would be impossible to allocate more teachers and money to specific departments.
According to Teitel, if the 2009-2010 budget cuts become significantly larger, the number of teachers per department will be reduced to approximately the same number the English department currently has—22. In turn, the number of electives will also be decreased.
“Every class you take means I have to hire staff,” Teitel said. “If I limit your number of classes, then in reality, I’ve reduced staff.”
Students, however, do not welcome any possible changes. “It’d be unfortunate if something were to happen to the faculty with the cuts,” senior Charles Kuang said.