The Adams administration confirmed mid-year cuts to public schools due to declining student numbers, aligning with broader calls for a 5% reduction in spending across city agencies.
The Department of Education, which previously used federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to protect schools with dropping enrollment from budget cuts, is now revising this policy.
According to a September report by city Comptroller Brad Lander, the DOE’s projected data indicated around 850 schools experiencing a decline in student numbers compared to the last academic year.
Among these, 410 schools received $135 million in “non-recurring hold harmless funds.”
The mayor’s spokesperson, Amaris Cockfield, stated that the DOE is reverting to the pre-pandemic mid-year budget adjustment policy due to current fiscal challenges.
Cockfield said, “This policy ensures schools’ funding continues to track with the number of students in seats and their needs.”
City Hall emphasized that principals would determine spending reductions at the school level, assuring no teacher layoffs and continued support for schools as they adjust budgets.
Meanwhile, schools with increasing enrollment, partly due to the influx of migrant students, will see increased funding. Approximately 30,000 migrant students have arrived in the city since July 2022.
While Schools Chancellor David Banks and the DOE assured no budget cuts at the start of the school year, they did not extend this promise for the entire year.
City Hall insists that all schools, especially those serving the most needy students, will receive adequate funding.
Cockfield highlighted the administration’s dedication to providing necessary funding for schools.
She noted, “This year alone, we already provided $90 million to support students in temporary housing and schools with high proportions of students with additional needs, sent almost $20 million to schools to support increased enrollment, and allocated another $60 million to support specific school needs through appeals.”
However, a City Hall insider indicated that the substantial costs associated with caring for thousands of migrants are affecting schools and other services.