NEW YORK (PIX11) — A number of City Council members who voted to approve New York City’s budget apologized to parents on Monday, saying they regret their yes vote.
Some City Council members told PIX11 they were misled by Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks regarding education funding. Adams says the funding cuts are directly tied to student enrollment.
Regardless, parents and members of the City Council on Monday called for him to restore the funding. Councilmembers Jennifer Gutiérrez, Carmen De La Rosa, Shahana Hanif, and Lincoln Restler vowed to make it up to disappointed parents. City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Education Chair Rita Joseph did not attend Monday’s rally.
In total, 44 of 51 council members voted to approve the mayor’s budget, $38 billion of which goes to the Department of Education. Teachers were notified they could be let go from their school next month if the funds are not restored, according to the United Federation of Teachers union.
Education advocates called on the mayor to restore the funds by August so principals have time to make staffing decisions.
Four NYC parents and teachers filed a lawsuit Monday in NY Supreme Court, asking for a temporary restraining order to halt the severe budget cuts to their public schools planned for next year. As the lawsuit points out, New York State Education Law clearly specifies a mandated process by which the NYC Board of Education (also known as the Panel for Educational Policy) must vote to approve the education budget prior to the City Council vote. But in this case, the City Council voted to adopt the budget on June 13, 10 days before the Board voted on June 23, 2022.
The lawsuit asks for a revote of the City Council in order to ensure the legally-required process occurs, and that the Council has the opportunity to reconsider its vote based on the testimony of nearly 70 parents and teachers who spoke out at the Board of Education meeting, detailing the profoundly damaging impact of these cuts on their schools.
A spokesperson for Adams’ office said the suit was being review.
“Since day one, the Adams administration has been committed to uplifting students throughout the five boroughs,” the spokesperson said. As was reflected during the budget process, there are more city funds in DOE’s FY23 budget than last fiscal year. While enrollment in public schools dropped, the city has maintained the unprecedented commitment to keep every school from every zip code at 100% of Fair Student Funding.”