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Don’t defund schools

New York Teacher

It is a crucial year for New York City public schools as educators continue to help students recover from pandemic learning loss and isolation while welcoming some 12,000 newly arrived migrant children. But for the second year in a row, Mayor Eric Adams wants to slash education funding in the city budget. 

At the same time that New York State is making a historic investment in public education, the mayor is putting the squeeze on public schools that are already struggling to fund the programs and services their students need. His proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 cuts $500 million in school funding, and Adams on April 4 asked the DOE to cut its budget for that fiscal year by another 3% as part of a new round of citywide cuts.

Rather than making painful cuts to schools, the DOE should be hiring more teachers and more social workers, school counselors and school psychologists to help students who are struggling. The city should increase — not decrease — its investment in early childhood education, too.

The mayor’s proposed cuts to the DOE budget are unnecessary. The city has the money. The City Council projects the city will receive $5.2 billion more in tax revenue through July 2024 than the New York City Mayor’s Office expects. The city is also sitting on about $600 million in unallocated COVID-19 relief funds, the city’s Independent Budget Office found. 

Ultimately, a budget is about more than dollars and cents. It’s a statement of our values and what we consider important. 

With his budget proposal, what message is the mayor sending to our students and their families?

Related Topics: Education Funding