Send a message to the City Council: school budgets must be INCREASED not cut next year for health, safety & educational adequacy

The City Council is in the final stretches of negotiating a city budget for next year with Mayor. Speaker Johnson and other Council leaders have said they intend to try to cut the NY Police Dept. funding by one billion dollars, but haven’t decided yet where the savings should go. Some of it will surely go towards restoring about $124 million in funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program, but the rest is uncertain.

Meanwhile, the Mayor has proposed a 3% cut in the overall DOE budget next year, with more than $280 million of these cuts directed towards schools. And yet it is clear that schools will need more funding next year to ensure the healthy and safety, as well as the smaller classes needed for social distancing and enhanced instruction.

A recent cost analysis from the School Superintendents Association and the Association of School Business Officials concluded that school districts can expect to spend an additional $490 per student just to cover costs associated with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and other cleaning supplies, protective gloves and masks , and additional custodial staff and nurses. Given that NYC has more than one million public school students, that means that nearly $490 million extra may be required.

And that’s not counting the additional teachers necessary to provide instruction either remotely or in-person, and extra counselors to offer the emotional support to students, so critical given the disruption and distress that so many students have experienced during the Covid pandemic.

Please send a letter to the Speaker Johnson today and the Education and Finance Council chairs – to urge them not to allow the DOE budget to be cut next year, as the Mayor has proposed; and that instead, the bulk of whatever savings from cutting the NYPD budget should be invested in more teachers, counselors, nurses, custodial staff as well as purchasing the supplies necessary to ensure that our children can go back to school safely next year and with the full academic and social-emotional support they will need.


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