Sept. 12, 2023
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Mayor Adams has now ordered every city agency to impose an immediate hiring freeze and submit budget cuts for next year totaling nearly 15%: 5% cuts by October 6, another round of 5% cuts by January, and yet another 5% by April. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, these reductions would mean slashing the DOE budget by $2.1 billion.
As I noted to the NY Post, if implemented, these unprecedented cuts would create a doomsday scenario for our schools, leading to much larger classes, loss of after school programs, special education services, counselors, cuts to 3K and PreK, and more. And as I pointed out in the Daily News, cutting back special ed services and sharply increasing class size may also be illegal – especially in the context of the new class size law.
Though the Mayor is blaming these new cuts on the migrant crisis, he has repeatedly shrunk the DOE’s budget ever since he came to office; moreover, there are 7500 unfilled teaching positions that the DOE had budgeted for but that schools have not been allowed to fill. These further reductions would be disastrous to NYC public school students.
So I urge you to text the Mayor today at (917) 909-2288, to tell him that these cuts are unacceptable and that he must find a way to prevent them. He has encouraged New Yorkers to text him, so let him hear from you.
Some other options you might suggest to him are to find budget savings in other agencies or to increase revenue, including raising taxes on the super-wealthy, including those making over $5 million per year. If you like, you can copy me at the same time at (917) 435-9329.
These new, unprecedented budget cuts may be threats meant to gin up fear and outrage, to help persuade the federal government and the state to cover more of the expenses of the refugees, but they must be taken seriously and vehemently opposed in any case.
2. Speaking of class size, please fill out our class size survey if you haven’t already; it will only take five minutes. We are hearing of many schools where class sizes have risen dramatically this fall; but even if they have remained the same or decreased at your school, we want to hear from you!
Thanks so much, Leonie