In response to school budgets released last week with significant changes due to lost federal funding and declining enrollment in public schools, Speaker Adrienne Adams, Education Committee Chair Rita Joseph, and Oversight and Investigations Chair Gale Brewer released the following statement.
“Our students are our top priority. That is why we are committing to bringing the full weight of the Council to ensure critical gaps left by lost federal funding and school-specific enrollment are filled when the numbers are updated in September.
“The change in school budgets released last week is the result of one-time federal stimulus funds running out, causing the City to return to its existing school budget formula that it had suspended because of these pandemic-related federal funds. As the number of students in our public schools declined by 120,000 students, the impact on some schools became deeply concerning. While schools with increased enrollment received proposed school budgets with funding increases due to the formula, other schools received lower proposed budgets without the stop-gap of federal funding that could lead to the loss of important services. Our focus must be on equity, ensuring schools and students who have historically been underserved are prioritized.
“This Council will be pursuing every avenue available to address this issue of lost federal funding. First, the City has already allocated over $700 million more in city funds for schools within this budget compared to the current fiscal year. Second, we will work at the local level with Council Members to better understand the specific impacts on individual schools in their districts. Third, the Council will hold a joint oversight hearing with the Committee on Oversight & Investigations and the Committee on Education to identify and scrutinize every dollar of federal stimulus received or expected to be received by our city that could fill certain gaps of lost federal funding for our schools. And fourth, we will push the Department of Education to prioritize funding within its more than $30 billion budget to meet the specific needs identified for individual schools, shifting money from bloated areas of its central operations to classrooms and student supports.
“Our students must be our priority, and we will leave no stone unturned to protect them by ensuring we work with our education stakeholders, scrutinize every federal dollar, and push for Mayor Adams and the Department of Education to fulfill its promise to the students and families that rely on our school system.”
Investing in Education and Youth
In the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, the Council secured major investments in education and youth programs, in addition to the more than $700 million increase in city funds committed to public schools.
- $277 million for the Summer Rising Program to provide free academic enrichment to students.
- $79+ million to expand Summer Youth Employment Program to a record-level 100,000 slots (baselined).
- $46 million to provide increased and fair wages for Special Education Pre-K and Day Care Providers to support the success of these critical programs that serve our youth.
- $33.4 million to expand Career and Technical Education.
- $30 million for Fair Futures program that serves young people who go through the foster care system.
- $19.7 million to double the slots for Work Learn Grow double the number of year-round youth employment to 4,400 jobs.
- $14 million to restore Community Schools funding and add funding to support new schools.
- $11.2 million to provide additional supports to English Language Learners.
- $10 million towards childcare for Undocumented Families.
- $10 million to advance the Education Equity Action Plan to implement citywide kindergarten-to-high school Black studies curriculum.
- $9.2 million to support the Low-Income Childcare Voucher program.
- $5.1 million for DOE Community Coordinators to support unhoused and immigrant students.
- $4.4 million for CUNY Reconnect pilot program to help working-age adults attain a degree that expands earning potential – at all CUNY campuses, serving 10,000 students in its first year.