City Hall, NY – During a special Stated Meeting, the New York City Council unanimously passed Resolution 283-A, sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Adams, calling on the Mayor and the Chancellor of the Department of Education (DOE) to immediately reverse the DOE’s reductions to school budgets. The resolution calls on the DOE to restore $469 million that it removed from school budgets. It also calls for the Chancellor to submit updated school budgets to the Panel for Educational Policy reflecting the restoration and a full accounting of unspent federal stimulus funds, which has never been provided to the public.
“Our resolution directs the Mayor and Chancellor to facilitate DOE restoring the $469 million it has removed from school budgets, an amount that is nearly three times greater than any reductions in the city budget,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “This resolution focuses attention on how DOE implements its $37 billion budget, with its actions increasingly occurring outside of public accountability and transparency. These unaccountable actions must cease to truly support our students and school communities, and DOE must reverse them. The answer to declining enrollment cannot be simply for DOE to take money from schools.”
The resolution clarifies that the Department of Education removed nearly three times more from school budgets than was indicated in the city budget. Within the city budget, the Administration indicated $215 million in reductions to DOE as a result of declining enrollment, with $131.5 million attributed to reductions in school budgets (the remaining $83.1 million was associated with fringe cost savings to DOE’s central budget). These city budget actions were associated with enrollment declines to be achieved through the elimination of 1,449 vacant positions in schools. Yet, the reductions to school budgets totaled over $360 million for all schools and $469 million for schools that were provided lower Fair Student Funding allocations. The resolution states that “[t]hese school budget reductions have gone far beyond the elimination of vacancies within the city budget to impact existing teachers and programming in schools.” A substantial portion of the reductions to school budgets do not even save the city money, but rather represent DOE shifting money around its $37 billion budget.
“With school starting this Thursday, the urgency of fully restoring funding for schools cannot be overstated,” said Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the Council’s Education Committee. “Today, the Council moved in a fully unified front to tell the administration that they have a moral imperative to give our students, parents, and educators the support that they deserve. The Mayor and Chancellor must do the right thing and utilize leftover stimulus dollars available to them as soon as possible to ensure that the social, emotional, and educational needs of our students are met.”