NYC's Education Budget and Preparing for the Next Fight 1

NYC’s Education Budget and Preparing for the Next Fight

We deeply appreciate the efforts of our city council, particularly the Progressive Caucus, Chair Joseph, and Speaker Adams. They consistently stood in solidarity with a People’s Budget, which aimed to secure essential services that keep New Yorkers safe, housed, and able to meet their basic needs.

Last week’s city budget deal included $40 million in reversals of earlier proposed cuts to key education programs and $120 million for child care and early education. Yet, it still falls short of what our children truly need. Mere restoration of funds is inadequate. Our schools cannot sustain the recurring cycle of cutting and restoring funds that shouldn’t have been cut in the first place. Speaker Adrienne Adams rightly emphasized that our city’s budget must move beyond mere restoration and towards strengthening and building. This sentiment is crucial as we seek concrete commitments to move closer to universal child care, deeper investment in restorative justice programs, fully funding community schools, and fulfilling the commitment to smaller class sizes. Perhaps if the Mayor focused less time on advocating for extending mayoral control during the State budget and more time advocating for more school funding to address the loss of expiring federal dollars, we would have more money for our public schools. Unfortunately, the prioritization of his political power was more important than addressing the needs of NYC students. The money that was restored was instead a testament to the relentless push by parents, students, educators, and advocates. 

Special acknowledgement goes to Council members Shahana Hanif, Alexa Avilés, and Tiffany Cabán for exercising their power to vote ‘No’ on a budget that missed the mark on funding too many vital services for New Yorkers. If our principals, teachers, and school staff are ever able to transform and cater to the actual needs of the students they serve, it must start with passing city budgets that consistently infuse more money, not ones that repeatedly cut and restore funds.

Our students and public schools deserve more than just the basics. This Mayor’s ongoing theatrics of toy airplanes and corny one-liners display that he is more interested in amusing the public than instilling confidence and addressing the real issues. We’re well overdue for a budget that truly prioritizes our children’s futures and ensures that every student receives the support and resources they need. The fight continues.