NEW YORK (PIX11) — All but 10 New York City Council members signed an open letter Wednesday calling for Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks to allocate unspent federal money to city school budgets. The more than $760 million could “immediately restore individual school budgets,” according to the council.

The 41 council members said the decision should be made within the month — before schools have to make decisions that could separate teachers from their current schools. The letter also criticizes the Department of Education’s “return to long-standing, dysfunctional and bureaucratic policies that negatively impact schools.”

“Principals, schools and teachers must make important decisions within the next month, and your continued inaction is hampering their ability to make the right choices for students,” the letter continues.

The reductions to school budgets will directly impact those with the most needs, including students of color and low-income families, according to the council. The Department of Education’s decision to pull funding from individual schools — unrelated to the city budget — is “harmful,” the council members wrote.

“DOE’s numbers are not adding up,” the letter said, “and it seems to be using the city budget as a smokescreen to evade responsibility for its policies that undermine support for schools.”

The New York City Independent Budget Office identified a total of nearly $800 million — including $761 million from Fiscal Year 2022 — that the council said could be used to fix school budgets. According to the New York City Council, the Department of Education has lacked transparency while discussing school budgets, even after agreeing to invest more under the approved Fiscal Year 2023 budget.

The Department of Education previously said that enrollment changes would lead to a gap of $215 million, citing a lack of federal stimulus funds. However, the council said, “the newly discovered unspent stimulus funds and recent reports of additional school budget cuts contradict these claims.”