Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget failed to fully reverse cuts to early childhood education, student support programs

City Hall, NY – Ahead of the City Council’s Executive Budget hearing by the Committee on Education, with the Committee on Finance, the Council called for funding restorations and deeper investments into the early childhood education and student support programs, many of which were previously supported by expiring federal COVID-19 stimulus funds.

The education budget priorities were outlined by the Council in its Preliminary Budget Response released in April, but several remained completely or partially unfunded in the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget.

Early Childhood Education

The Council has called for:

  • Restoration of $170 million for 3-K and Pre-K seats
    • The Mayor’s Executive Budget separately maintained $92 million in expiring federal stimulus funds for 3-K operating costs
  • Commitment of $60 million to expand full-day/full-year seats to better meet families’ needs
  • $10 million in new funding for 3-K marketing and outreach ($3.5 million of which was included in the Mayor’s Executive Budget)
  • $96 million to replace expiring federal stimulus funds for preschool special education ($81 million was included in the Mayor’s Executive Budget).
  • $25 million in baselined funding to support expanding the reach of Promise NYC, which provides childcare vouchers for undocumented children and families that are ineligible for other programs.

District 75 Programs

The Council has called for the restoration and baselining of the $3 million cut to District 75 programs that provide highly specialized instructional support to students with special needs. Given increasing Carter Case expenditures and the increase in other due process cases related to special needs services and education, there is a greater need for schools to provide quality special education services. The lower-than-expected spending used to justify this cut was due to vacancies in District 75 teaching positions and other special education-related positions. To fulfill the exigent need for the provision of special education services, the Administration should be hiring for these positions rather than cutting spending based on anticipated future vacancies.

Restorative Justice

The Council has called for $22 million to restore the $12 million in expiring federal funds and provide an additional $10 million to expand current programming. Restorative Justice programming and coordinators help teach students how to manage their emotions and deescalate conflict. It has also served as an alternative to punitive discipline and suspensions, which are linked to a greater likelihood of future involvement in the justice system.

School Food

The Council is calling for an additional $60 million for the school food program, including $17 million to restore cafeteria staff headcounts to pre-pandemic levels and at least $3 million to fund nutrition committees in schools. After initially cutting $60 million from school food funding in the November Financial Plan, the Administration announced a partial $25 million restoration in March.

Mental Health Continuum

The Council has called on the Administration to baseline $5 million for the Mental Health Continuum, a cross-agency partnership between the Department of Education, NYC Health + Hospitals and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that provides mental health support to students in-person and virtually. In April, the Administration announced 16 new school-based mental health clinics would be funded $3.6 million in funds from the Continuum but the Executive Budget provided no allocation for the Continuum in Fiscal Year 2025 and beyond.

School Based Nurses

The Council has called for the restoration and baselining of $65 million to replace expiring federal stimulus funds and maintain nurses for over 130 schools and 70,000 students.

Youth Peer Support Program

The Council has called for $15.3 million to fund a youth peer support program that would utilize a school-based peer-to-peer model to empower young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years old to recognize and reduce stigma of mental health illness and support fellow students dealing with mental health challenges.

Student Success Centers

The Council has called for the restoration of $3.3 million to continue Student Success Centers that create partnerships between community-based organizations and high school campuses. They serve as critical opportunities for high schools to build a system of support that can improve students’ success in the college admissions processes. Expiring federal stimulus funds supported Student Success Centers in high schools.

Immigrant Family Engagement

The Council has called for the restoration of $4 million to continue supporting improved engagement between schools and immigrant families by providing school information and updates in families’ native languages.

Title VI Coordinators

The Council has called for an additional $4.4 million to hire one Title VI coordinator in each of the city’s 32 school districts to address acts of bias within schools and re-establish the Division of School Culture in the New York City Department of Education (DOE). Recent incidents of hate involving students and teachers in the city’s public school system have led to the initiation of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on possible Title VI violations by the DOE. Considering the gravity of the investigation and the numerous incidents that have taken place during this school year, this is an important step that should be taken by the City. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protections against discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any institution or program that receives federal funding from ED.    

“New York City students are recovering from historic, pandemic-era learning loss that requires additional support through critical education programs,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The Council has consistently called for funding commitments to these vital initiatives that were at risk due to expiring federal stimulus funds. While the Administration’s commitment of more than $500 million to replace some of the expiring federal funds was a step forward, there is more work to be done to restore tens of millions of dollars for education programs that students and families need. Education must be a top budget priority for our city, and we will continue to push for the investments our children and communities deserve.”

“Investments in education programs and associated supportive programs for students save us, and make us, money in the long run,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “Our kids deserve our support, which is reason enough to make sure they have every opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive in our school system. But investing in education isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s also the fiscally responsible thing to do. Today’s students will inherit our city, so investments in education today are investments in New Yorkers’ health, wealth, public safety, and culture of tomorrow.”

“With the loss of billions in federal funds, it is imperative the City invests in maintaining funding for early childhood education, preschool special education, community schools, school food programs, restorative justice initiatives, and beyond in the Adopted Budget,” said Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the Committee on Education. “The mayoral administration must recognize the paramount importance of these areas for our students and the promise of giving them a high-quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances.”

“While the Mayor’s proposed budget makes important investments in education, there are still critical education programs on the chopping block,” said Annie Minguez Garcia, Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Good Shepherd Services, on behalf of the Emergency Coalition to Save Education Programs. “From restorative justice practices and the Mental Health Continuum, to 3-K and preschool special education, to community schools and immigrant family communication, to Student Success Centers, these are initiatives and services that students and school communities can’t afford to lose. We appreciate that the City Council called to restore funding for each of these programs in its response to the preliminary budget and want to ensure the final budget includes funding to sustain these vital supports.”