In response to school budgets released last week with significant changes due to the loss of federal funding and declining public school enrollment, Speaker Adrienne Adams, Education Committee Chair Rita Joseph and Oversight and Investigations Chair Gale Brewer issued the following statement.

“Our students are our top priority. That’s why we’re committed to bringing the full weight of the Council to ensure the critical gaps left by the loss of federal funding and school-specific enrollment are closed when the numbers are updated in September.

“The change in school budgets released last week is the result of the depletion of one-time federal stimulus funds, forcing the city to revert to its existing school budget formula that it had suspended due to these federal funds tied to the pandemic. While the number of students in our public schools has dropped by 120,000 students, the impact on some schools has become deeply concerning. While schools with increased enrollment received proposed school budgets with funding increases due to the formula, other schools received lower proposed budgets without the palliative of federal funding that could result in the loss of important services. . We must focus on equity, ensuring that schools and students who have historically been underserved are prioritized.

“This Council will pursue all avenues available to resolve this issue of lost federal funding. First, the City has already allocated more than $700 million more in municipal funds for schools under this budget than this fiscal year. Second, we will work at the local level with board members to better understand the specific impacts on individual schools in their districts. Third, the Board will hold a joint oversight hearing with the Oversight and Investigations Committee and the Education Committee to identify and review every federal stimulus dollar received or expected by our city that may fill some gaps in lost federal funding. for our schools. And fourth, we will push the Department of Education to prioritize funding in its budget of more than $30 billion to meet specific identified needs for individual schools, transferring money from bloated areas of its central operations. to classrooms and student supports.

“Our students must be our priority, and we will spare no effort to protect them by ensuring that we work with our education stakeholders, scrutinize every federal dollar, and push for Mayor Adams and the Department of Education to keep their promise to the students and families who depend on our school system.

CONTEXT:

Investing in education and youth

In the fiscal year 2023 budget, the Council secured major investments in education and youth programs, in addition to increasing more than $700 million in municipal funds committed to public schools.

  • $277 million for the Summer Rising program to provide free academic enrichment to students.
  • Over $79 million to expand the Summer Jobs for Youth Program to an all-time high of 100,000 (base) locations.
  • $46 million to provide higher and fair wages to preschool and special education daycare providers to support the success of these essential programs that serve our youth.
  • $33.4 million to expand vocational and technical training.
  • $30 million for the Fair Futures program which serves young people going through the foster care system.
  • $19.7 million to double the slots for Work Learn Grow to double the number of year-round jobs for youth to 4,400 jobs.
  • $14 million to restore funding to community schools and add funds to support new schools.
  • $11.2 million to provide additional supports for English language learners.
  • $10 million for childcare for undocumented families.
  • $10 million to advance the Education Equity Action Plan to implement the K-12 Black Studies curriculum across the city.
  • $9.2 million to support the Low Income Child Care Voucher Program.
  • $5.1 million for DOE Community Coordinators to support homeless and immigrant students.
  • $4.4 million for the CUNY Reconnect pilot program to help working-age adults earn a degree that expands their earning potential – across all CUNY campuses, serving 10,000 students in its first year.

###