No cuts to school budgets
After a months-long push by the UFT and other public school advocates, the mayor and the city Department of Education made good on their promise not to cut individual school budgets in September. Schools will be held harmless for drops in enrollment — at least at the start of the school year.
Of the 1,532 public schools in New York City, 947 of them, or 62%, will receive additional funds totaling $479 million. This increase is largely due to a new funding formula that provides more money for students in temporary housing and other high-needs groups.
The remaining 585 schools, or 38%, had enrollment declines, but their budgets will remain flat due to the hold-harmless provision. The city is using $174 million in federal COVID relief funds to make up the difference.
Last year at this time, the city cut the budgets of three-quarters of schools going into the new school year.
City officials, however, left open the possibility of school budget cuts later in the 2023–24 academic year based on actual enrollment.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the city should avoid midyear cuts at all costs because they are even more damaging and disruptive than cuts at the start of the new school year.
“Classes are up and running and suddenly a school has to consolidate classrooms, eliminate programs and shuffle staff because the funding has been cut,” he said. “We are calling on New York City to say, ‘No, there are no cuts for the entire 2023–24 school year.’ ”
While individual school budgets will remain intact in September, the mayor has proposed cutting $960 million from the overall education budget. If the mayor’s proposed spending plan becomes the final city budget, the city’s contribution to schools would drop by $652 million, federal funds would decrease by $297 million as COVID relief spending winds down, and the state’s share increases by $93 million.
The final city budget is due by July 1.