This Thursday about 900,000 children of the Big Apple, as Alexander Rodriguezthey will pack their backpacks and attend the 1,600 New York City public schoolswhich will be the first day of the new school year.
But beyond the emotion of some or the long faces of others, as Rodriguezwho will start third grade, and does not want the holidays to end, the great concern of parents and student advocates is knowing that the majority of schools they will have to juggle in order to keep working fine. The City cut $469 million dollars of the Fair Student Financing (FSF) and organizations denounce that the guillotine to the funds will reach a total of up to $1,300 million in 96% of the educational institutions of the five boroughs, which will put “give birth to chayotes” to principals and teachers.
This is what student advocates denounce, such as Leonie Hamsondirector of the organization “Class Size Matters”who warned that the analyzes carried out by different groups like his reveal that, as of August 21, a total of 1,514 schools, which represents 96% of all, suffered cuts compared to last year, while that only 68 schools, that is, 4%) saw increases.
The activist assures that if she does not realize urgent changes in reinstating severed funding, the school landscape is going to be uphill, especially for communities of Latino and black students, who have been dealing with overcrowded classrooms for years, which could get worse.
“We expect class sizes to increase considerably in many schools due to these cuts, we can’t know exactly how many at this time, but as of July, 700 teachers were exceeded,” Haimson assured. “In general, class sizes tend to be higher in schools with large numbers of ELLs (English language learners), and that is expected to continue.”
The advocate for smaller classroom sizes explained that those schools with cuts experienced an average decrease of $865,182, which is 10.6% of their budgets.
“We hope that Mayor Adams will hear the voices of parents, teachers, students, and elected officials, speaking in unison about the damaging impact of these cuts on our schools.just when our children need stability to reconnect and recover from the interruptions caused by more than two years of pandemic, which is still with us”, added the activist, who questioned the Mayor about whether “harming students by these cuts”, increased class sizes and the loss of art and music programs will lead to significant cost savings for the City.
The City Council He also raised his voice in protest, and on the eve of the return to school, this Tuesday he approved a resolution urging the Mayor and the Chancellor of Education to reverse the reductions in school budgets, urging him to return to schools what took them away
“Our resolution directs the Mayor and Chancellor to make it easier for the DOE to restore the $469 million it cut from school budgets, an amount that is almost three times greater than any reduction in the City budget”, said the president of the legislative body, Adrianne Adams. “These irresponsible actions fail to truly support our students and school communities, and the DOE must reverse them. The answer to declining enrollment cannot simply be for the DOE to take money from schools”.
Julissa Bisogno, parent organizer and organization education leader Make the Road NY, he got in tune with the criticism and asked Mayor Adams that instead of continuing to fight in court to uphold his desire for cuts, he take the right side.
“In two days we are going to start the new school year with a very worrying situation. Not only do we continue with overcrowded schools, which already had these problems before the pandemic and that they got worse, but that those schools will have to continue operating with fewer resources. It is extremely serious,” said the mother of the family.
“Now more than ever, when we see that the pandemic continues, schools must be receiving all the necessary funds to help our children succeed. in schools, because that is where they spend most of their time. We cannot afford fewer teachers, fewer programs, and less mental health support.”
The community leader said that the situation still looks much more worrying, due to the arrival of hundreds of immigrant children who have been bussed from the border and will have to enter public schools.
“The Mayor cannot continue to be stubborn in taking away resourceswhen he himself has seen in the Port Authority that of every 10 buses arriving each day, half come with children and need more resources, just like those who are already registered, not less”, added Bisogno, assuring that the formula that City used to cut funding to schools claiming student withdrawal was wrong.
The Ombudsman, Jumaane Williamswas also alarmed at the start of the school year with less money in schools, and stressed that the reality of more immigrant children arriving in the Big Apple cannot be ignored.
“The budget cuts facing our public schools are unacceptable and unsustainable, especially since so many immigrant children will be entering our schools for the first time this week. We cannot and will not accept overcrowded classrooms, under-resourced schools, and fewer opportunities. for the youngest New Yorkers,” the official said, emphasizing that this will most affect the poorest communities that always suffer the greatest blows.
“As always, budget cuts will disproportionately harm schools that already serve the most vulnerable: poor students, students of more color, and students who don’t speak English. All New Yorkers deserve a world-class education, and our schools must be funded and supported for all students to thrive.” Williams said.
andrea ortizDirector of Educational Policy of the organization New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) noted that the massive budget cuts facing schools for this new school year are having a “disastrous impact” on their ability to fully meet the needs of all students. “This is especially true for low-income and immigrant students who face a multitude of challenges in our educational system, including being able to access the academic and general resources they need to succeed,” the advocate said, calling for no child , including newcomers, stay out of the classroom.
“They must provide adequate translation and interpretation services to ensure they have access to all the resources our schools provide. We urge the city to truly value and invest in all immigrants and place asylum-seeking children in schools that have a strong track record and training in supporting newly arrived immigrants and English Language Learners (ELLs). English),” added Ortiz.
By the side of teachers, perception and concerns are similar, They warn that the cuts with which the vast majority of schools will start operating this Thursday will severely affect the development of the school year, if the course of the withdrawn funds is not arranged.
So he says, Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), who acknowledged that the cuts, which he called “scandalous” have caused principals and school staff to juggle in order to receive children well.
“At a time when the DOE is asking us to do more for our students and communities, it’s amazing that it chooses to give us less. After the most difficult years in recent memory for the city, this is a slap in the face,” said the union leader, who has been advocating for the restoration of funding for schools, in order to get the most vulnerable communities out of the destruction caused by the pandemic.
“For months, we haven’t received clear answers to our questions: Why was funding for schools cut at such a crucial time? Why has the DOE decided to cut school budgets when the DOE’s budget has not been cut? Where does the money go, if not to the schools? questioned Mulgrew, pointing to the decision he called wrong.
“The increased needs of our students and families are undeniable, and yet once again, the DOE has left it to each school to figure out how to make things happen without guidance and support,” warned the leader of the teachersadding that the demand of parents and teachers that is in court, which will have a response until the end of this month, will arrive too late, since classes will start without those resources.
“That is too late for our schools to plan for. It is beyond disturbing that the city continues to fight rather than accept the premise that it is time to right a wrong and do what is best for our students,” he said. Mulgrew. “Our collective job is to provide the best education we can to the students of our city. How can the City and the Department of Education claim to be doing everything they can when they are not providing our schools with sufficient budgets to maintain their staff and school programming? Why do you think it is acceptable to expect more from educators across the city while providing less?”
We repeatedly sought comment from the Department of Education (DOE), but they did not respond to concerns raised by parents, students, and organizations.
The new school year in figures
- 900,000 students expected to return to class
- $1,309,866,102 would be the total resources cut, according to organizations
- $469 million was budget cut from Fair Student Funding (FSF) in 77% of schools
- 1,514 schools suffered funding cuts, according to student advocacy organizations
- 96% of all schools would be impacted
- 68 schools were the only ones to have increased funds
- 4% is the percentage of institutions with these increases.
- $865,182 is the average cut reported for schools
- 10.6% less is the impact on many budgets
- $309,994 increased budgets at schools that will have the most revenue
- $300 million in cut school budgets is expected to be restored over the course of the school year to every school
- $1 billion would ultimately be the final total cut.