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New York City schools face budget cuts

Jakub Halun
Wikimedia Commons | Jakubhal

New York City public schools are facing budget cuts due to low enrollment. Enrollment projections for the 2023-2024 school year were overestimated, resulting in mid-year budget cuts.

The Department of Education is experiencing a massive budget cut for the first time in four years. In 2018, former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s preliminary budget allocated $300 million less for the DOE than expected.

The NYC comptroller reported a school budget update in early September, stating that schools won’t receive additional funding until after their mid-year adjustments. Nor will they receive any more adjustments for new enrollments after Oct. 31, 2023. These adjustments account for changes in actual enrollment compared with projected enrollment, in addition to funding for specific programs.

Schools avoided mid-year adjustment policy for the past three years thanks to the COVID-19 federal stimulus funds. Now that New York City public schools have lost their stimulus funding, they must revert to the pre-COVID policy. As a result, many schools will be hit with budget cuts in the middle of the school year, making it difficult for them to keep essential resources for students, such as staff and central personnel who are tasked with supporting students who live in temporary housing and children with disabilities.

The New York Public Schools’ announcement ensures appropriate funding for schools, “Importantly if schools see an increase in students at any point in the school year, we will push additional funding to them to ensure they have what they need to serve each of their students. Our goal remains consistent: providing the best educational environment for every student, regardless of changing fiscal conditions.”

In a joint statement from NYC Council speaker Adrienne Adams and Education Chair Rita Joseph, officials convey concern with the upcoming budget cuts. “The Department of Education’s decision to broadly remove funding from the individual budgets of schools would leave them without the needed resources at this critical moment when they are being asked to do more for students.”

New York City public schools’ budgets are mainly made up of a formula-based funding, Fair Student Funding. FSF is based on student enrollment and the needs of those students.

The city, state, and federal governments fund NYC schools, according to complex formulas; but because the basic calculation is per-student, a 10% enrollment decline would significantly reduce NYC’s annual school funding.”

Many factors account for the decreased enrollment that many NYC public schools face such as declining birth rates and high cost of living. Among them is the lack of opportunity and results in public schools. Students in charter schools regularly outperform those in public schools.

NYC public schools need proper funding to compete with private and charter schools. Lower enrollment means less money gets allocated to schools, resulting in poor performance.

On top of mid-year budget adjustments, public schools may face even more budget cuts. As a response to the asylum seeker crisis, Mayor Adams announced new steps to control spending of the city’s budget early this September. All city agencies, including the education department, will be required to cut 5% of their budgets in November, January and April for a total of 15% in budget cuts.

“If we can get the substantial support we need from our federal and state partners, we can avoid these funding reductions,” Mayor Adams hopes.

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Sonia Kalo
Sonia Kalo, News Editor
Sonia Kalo is the News Editor of The Ticker
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