NYC Council’s Rebuke of School Cuts Comes with a Heap of Extra Boldness

It is not uncommon for city council members to cling to modest spending cuts for schools; as pawns of the teachers’ union, they are always going to demand more money for the schools. Yet their complaints this year come with an extra dose of boldness.

On the one hand, the members of the council themselves approved this year’s $101 billion municipal budget, which includes a modest $215 million cut to the city’s Department of Education. Now they are turning around and blaming DOE mismanagement.

Yet the cuts represent just 0.7% of agency spending $31 billion budget, certainly in line with the drop in registrations. And don’t forget: A portion of the schools budget last year came from DC through COVID relief funds, to pay for additional pandemic-related costs. The pandemic is over, so expect a slightly lower budget.

Get this too: The mayor’s office says per-student spending will actually be ascend at $31,434, up from pre-pandemic numbers — the highest of any major city in the country. (And the DOE has another one $4.3 billion in unspent federal COVID stimulus money to be spent by 2025.)

Last year’s budget included additional funding for COVID-19.
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Then there’s the point from Chancellor of Schools David Banks: The DOE “has an annual budget of $31 billion…and yet we have 65% of black and brown kids who never reach proficiency. He calls it « scandalous » – a « betrayal ».

Council members who really care about children should be complaining, like Banks, not about the cuts but about the poor quality of education the schools are providing. despite all those billions.


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