Schools will lose $215 million due to declining enrollment
Schools across the city will see a $215 million reduction in student fair funding — the main stream of funding for individual school budgets — as part of Mayor Eric Adams’ first municipal budget.
“The number of students has dropped. We’re adjusting to that drop,” Adams said at a news conference at City Hall on Friday.
Funding is tied to registration. But for the past two years, as enrollment has plummeted amid a pandemic that has rocked schools across the city, the de Blasio administration has not withdrawn funding for those enrollment declines.
Adams is phasing out this policy.
“What we’re doing is we’re not cutting back,” Adams said. “We adjust the amount according to the student population.”
But for constituents on the ground, it will mean a cut. School budgets will decrease compared to previous years. At PS 9 in Brooklyn, the budget will grow from nearly $4.89 million this year to $3.8 million next — at a time when parent and teacher organization president Jessica Flores says that students are still recovering from the pandemic.
“We’re losing over a million dollars. That’s twelve staff members who could potentially be surplus or need to be fired from our school,” Flores told NY1. “That means any hiring that our director wanted to do, the extra supports that we had in place, we had an extra social worker, we had more special education supports, all of that could go away.”
Adams is using federal stimulus funds to soften the blow. Without them, it would have been a $375 million hit to schools. But Comptroller Brad Lander says the city has more stimulus money than it could have used.
“Now is just not the time to impose multi-million dollar budget cuts on our schools,” Lander said.
Adams says it has to happen.
“We’re going through a very dangerous time right now that a lot of people don’t realize. We’re dropping so many students that it can impact our federal funding, and we better start making those smart decisions now,” Adams said. .
Flores says cutting funding — and the staff and programs that will have to be cut with it — is not the way to win back parents.
“There is a way to bring people back, and cutting budgets on such a large scale is not the way. So if you really think we are in a dangerous position, what are you doing to create a better environment and more appealing? to future parents? she asked.