NYC Council passes non-binding resolution urging Education Dept. to reverse school budget cuts
The New York City Council on Tuesday passed a nonbinding resolution calling on Mayor Adams to restore nearly $500 million in cuts to school budgets — some of which the Council itself approved during negotiations over the city budget in June.
The resolution, which asks the city to use unspent federal stimulus money to reverse $469 million in cuts to school budgets, passed by a vote of 45-0.
“The Council is making it clear today with this resolution that school budgets should be fully restored,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), who authored the legislation. “Our students, teachers and school communities deserve more supports from the DOE [Department of Education] and it’s clear that much more oversight and accountability is required.”
The resolution, which is nonbinding, marks the latest chapter in a monthslong debate over school budget cuts, which kicked into high gear when the Council and Mayor Adams agreed to a budget in June that locked in $215 million in cuts.
The true amount of the cuts turned out to be much larger — in part because the Education Department is forecasting additional enrollment losses next year, and school budgets are largely tied to student numbers.
Council members claimed after the budget agreement that the DOE misled them about the size and impact of the cuts, which have forced many schools to lay off teachers and send them to a citywide pool where they can be hired by other schools.
Education Department officials maintain that they never misled the Council about the cuts or claimed that they wouldn’t result in staff “excessing.”
Mayor Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks have argued that it would be irresponsible to use federal stimulus money to temporarily prop up school budgets, only to cut them more severely when the stimulus money expires in 2025.
But critics of the cuts have countered that this is the precise time when schools need the most additional financial support, and that the city’s public schools have no shot of recouping enrollment if budgets are slashed.