Schools citywide will see a $215 million cut in Fair Student Funding — the main funding stream for individual school budgets — as part of Mayor Eric Adams' first city budget.
"The number of students dropped. We are adjusting based on that drop,” Adams said during a City Hall press conference Friday.
The funding is tied to enrollment. But for the last two years, as enrollment fell amid a pandemic that roiled city schools, the de Blasio administration did not take away funding for those enrollment declines.
Adams is phasing that policy out.
"What we’re doing is we are not cutting,” Adams said. “We are adjusting the amount based on the student population.”
But for principals on the ground, it will amount to a cut. School budgets will shrink compared to prior years. At P.S. 9 in Brooklyn, the budget will go from nearly $4.89 million this year to $3.8 million next — at a time when Parent Teacher Organization President Jessica Flores says students are still recovering from the pandemic.
"We are losing over a million dollars. That is twelve staff members that could potentially be excessed or have to be terminated from our school,” Flores told NY1. “That means any hiring that our principal wanted to do, the extra supports that we had in place, we had an extra social worker, we had more special ed support, all of that could be gone."
Adams is using some 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 cash it could have used.
"This is just not the time to be imposing multimillion dollar budget cuts on our schools," Lander said.
Adams says it has to happen.
"We are in a very dangerous time right now that many people are not realizing. We’re dropping students so much this may impact our federal funding, and we better now start making these smart decisions,” Adams said.
Flores says cutting funding — and the staff and programs that will have to be cut with it — isn't the way to win back parents.
"There's a way to bring people back, and reducing budgets on such a grand scale is not the way. So if you really feel like we're in a dangerous position, what are you doing about it to make a better, more attractive environment for prospective parents?" she asked.