New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Friday, January 12th, reversed his previous decision to cut funding for community schools and the Summer Rising program.
This turnaround comes during a period of financial strain for the city, largely attributed by Adams to the increased arrival of asylum seekers and other migrants.
Initially, Mayor Adams directed New York City Public Schools to reduce its budget by nearly $550 million, which included slashing approximately $10 million from community schools and almost $20 million from the Summer Rising program.
Last year, the free summer school initiative launched during the pandemic served about 110,000 students.
Federal COVID relief funds had previously been pivotal in supporting community schools and the Summer Rising program.
The planned cuts would have significantly affected its operations, particularly for middle-school students.
Mayor Adams noted, “We want to be extremely, extremely clear: We know it takes an entire city to raise a child. Through community schools and the Summer Rising program, we’re giving our young people a chance to learn and grow.”
This announcement signifies the restoration of funds to about 170 community schools and ensures the continuation of the Summer Rising program, which the city’s education department will now fund for the first time, covering its $80 million share of the approximate $350 million total cost.
While the mayor’s announcement marks a positive turn for these programs, it does not reverse all the educational budget cuts implemented by Adams.
The city’s education department still faces major financial reductions, with most of the initially proposed cuts remaining in place.
The mayor’s decision had previously drawn intense criticism, including a lawsuit from the city’s teachers union, which labeled the cuts as “draconian.”
Schools Chancellor Banks lauded the restoration as a testament to “mayoral accountability,” a term often used by the city’s current school governance structure proponents.
This latest move follows a pattern of budget reversals by Mayor Adams, including recent restorations for the NYPD, FDNY, and the Sanitation Department.
Adams, gearing up to present his preliminary budget, cautioned against overly optimistic interpretations of these restorations.
“We do not want it to be taken as a signal that the city is out of the woods,” he stated, underscoring the ongoing financial challenges faced by the city.
Despite the inflow of $7.7 billion in one-time pandemic aid from the federal government, the city’s schools are bracing for these funds to dry up in September, hinting at enduring fiscal challenges ahead.