NYC School Budget Cuts – All That You Must Know

NYC School Budget Cuts – All That You Must Know

As the budget for 2023 was announced and approved by the city council of New York, protests were seen all around regarding the education budget cuts. The incident was hyped to such intensity that it gathered the attention of people around the world. But what actually happened? Read on to know the details.

Last month, less than a week after the New York City Council passed the financial year 2023 budget, some members protested the budgetary cuts, which apparently they agreed to and were aware of months in advance. The council said it had no idea the cuts would significantly impact some particular schools with declining enrolment, and it blamed both Mayor Eric Adams’ administration and the Department of Education for the consequences.

But here is an interesting fact. The city-specific funding allotted for education actually went up this year than the last budget. Here is everything you need to know.

According to budget papers, the financial year 2023 adopted budget offers $845.5 million in more financing for the Department of Education, totalling $14.5 billion in city money, compared to the $13.7 billion provided in the previous year’s adopted budget. The council has consistently stated that the rise is closer to $700 million this year. Still, that amount does not include various budget additions, including council initiatives, according to the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.

That brings us to the most pressing question –  

How much was the cut?

In the financial year 2023, the entire education budget, including financing from the state and federal governments, is $31 billion, down from $31.5 billion in the previous year’s accepted budget. State budget allocations are up by around $500 million this year, but federal assistance is down by $1.5 billion.

On that note, a total of $557.5 million will be removed from education as part of the city’s “Program to Eliminate the Gap” in the financial year 2023. This includes $375 million for declining enrolment. However, the losses owing to fewer pupils are countered by $160 million in federal money, totalling the $215 million in cuts previously claimed by city officials. These changes were made public months ago when the mayor unveiled the Program to Close the Gap.

Here are the changes that the council and the mayor made to the executive budget that was included in the adopted budget –

  • The mayor’s proposed $30.9 billion budget for the DOE was increased by $79.1 million in the enacted budget.
  • Increases in funding for general education instruction and school leadership, as well as central administration costs, were offset by cuts in “categorical programmes,” which typically support specific student programmes and services such as teacher professional development, bilingual education, or breakfast and lunch programmes.

What will be the impact of these cuts on schools?

Since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City’s public schools have lost 9.5% of all students. Fair Student Funding, the main funding source for public schools that is computed per-student basis and weighted based on the needs of individual online exam help students and schools, would be reduced in more than 1,000 schools. According to reports, there will be an increase in just under 480 schools. Experts are assuming that, in particular, James Madison High School in Brooklyn will suffer the most loss, totalling to $2.8 million.

As a result of the changes, hundreds of instructors have been warned that they would be unable to return to their present positions for the upcoming school year.

It is being said that all teachers who lose their current employees will be placed in the city’s reserve pool, where they will be considered for other roles within the school system.

Can anyone be held responsible for this situation? If yes, who?

A few news portals have reported that the mayor has stated how the per-student funding mechanism, known as Fair Student Funding, will remain unaltered when enrolment declines are considered. An internal Department of Education memo revealed that it has decreased slightly. According to the memo, the fall is attributable to a reduction in spending on teacher wages as a result of a big number of seasoned instructors with higher salaries departing the school system.

Council members have accused the department of failing to notify schools about the budget changes. In a recent education committee meeting, one of the council members stated that members were unaware that the cuts would result in this kind of insanity of so many teacher reductions and so many excesses.

Members of New York’s congressional delegation have also asked the Department of Education to spend $4.3 billion in unused cash from the $7 billion it received from federal stimulus money included in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Parting Thoughts –

The experts believe there can be other fairer ways of distributing the funds. As per them, one possibility is to modify the Fair Student Cash system. This fund not only provides a base amount of support for every student enrolled in a school but also additional funding for kids with high-needs, such as those with impairments or living in poverty. They believe this would have the impact of increasing the budgets of schools that serve a greater proportion of vulnerable kids.

Another alternative is to invest the money in specialised tutoring programmes, after-school enrichment activities, or even a longer school day. City officials have stated that they want to sponsor academic recovery initiatives, including tutoring, but have provided few details about how they would function or how many pupils they anticipate will benefit.

About the author –

Jake Washington is an investor relations manager at a corporate firm in Australia. She is associated with to guide finance and accounting students with their assignment help and coursework. In addition, she provides career guidance in corporate finance for those passionate about the same.