NEW YORK (PIX11) – A judge on Friday ruled in favor of a revote on the school funding portion of the New York City budget, and until this happens the city must restore funding to the same level as the last budget.
Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday had said he would do as the judge says, but on Friday he said the city would appeal the ruling. Now, principals and nearly 1 million public school students are caught in the middle, wondering what types of programs will be offered this year.
Harlem mom of two Tamara Tucker is one of four plaintiffs on the case suing the city over funding cuts made to the Department of Education.
“It’s a David and Goliath moment,” she told PIX11’s Kala Rama on Friday. “Every parent wants their kids to have the same programs – art, music and after-school enrichment should be a given, not a luxury.”
Paul Trust is another plaintiff. He’s a music teacher at PS 39, an elementary school in Park Slop that just scrapped his music program because of budget cuts.
“The music program at the school I was teaching at that I first started working at in 2009 will no longer have a music program, so that put me in excess,” he said.
The judge’s order came after education advocates were able to show how devastating the cuts would be to students.
Trust, however, noted that the battle would continue after the city’s appeal of the ruling.
“I’m really excited that the judge has ruled in our favor now several times over. But at the same time, I know there’s more work to be done. The mayor appealed, so this is this feels a little bit like you’ve won the battle, but not the war,” he said.
In response to the ruling, spokesperson for City Hall told PIX11 News, “Students, teachers, and parents need finalized budgets to ensure they are on track for a smooth opening next month. We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling, and will be taking immediate steps to appeal.”
As the city appeals, it extends the process. So principals still don’t know what programs they can staff and how many teachers they have to work with despite that the first day of school is just weeks away.