First and foremost, we want to honor and celebrate the students, parents, educators, advocates, and community members who have risen up in opposition to these education cuts. They’ve held rallies, bird-dogged officeholders, circulated petitions, written copious emails, and filed this lawsuit.
To the plaintiffs, including parents Tamara Tucker and Melanie Kotler and teachers Paul Trust and Sarah Brooks, and to all those who have come together to fight back against cuts: this city owes you a huge debt of gratitude.
Today, Justice Frank ruled that, in its haste to pass our FY2023 budget, the city failed to observe procedure as required by state law, namely getting a vote of the Panel for Education Policy (PEP) before the Council’s own vote.
We on the Council should take a lesson from this ruling. We can avoid a similar whirlwind of public backlash, back-room scrambling, and legal action next year by adopting a more transparent, accountable budget process:
- At the very minimum, all budget documents and materials should be available for consideration by members of the public, press, and Council, at least 72 hours before the Council votes on it – or better still, a full week.
- Additionally, all Members should remain fully briefed through the process, to better allow us to identify and address problems like this early.
Let’s commit to these standards right now.
This ruling is not a signal that we should relax. We will need to continue to defend our schools and other vital public services from the threat of divestment and privatization in upcoming federal, state, and city budget cycles.
We, the undersigned, are committed to carrying on the fight to fully fund the safer, more caring, more vibrant public school system that students, parents, and educators need and deserve.
CM Tiffany Cabán (D22)
CM Alexa Avilés (D38)
CM Sandy Nurse (D37)
CM Chi Ossé (D36)
CM Kristin Richardson Jordan (D9)
CM Jen Gutiérrez (D34)
CM Shahana Hanif (D39)
CM Carmen De La Rosa (D10)
CM Lincoln Restler (D33)