NEW YORK (PIX11) — A $215 million cut to the Department of Education’s budget is anticipated because of declining enrollment at New York City public schools, officials said.

Enrollment had dropped throughout the pandemic. It’s also projected to continue to fall, Comptroller Brad Lander said Monday on the PIX11 Morning News. Even with the enrollment change, he doesn’t feel the cut is the right move. The city’s money man pointed to several billion dollars of unspent federal money that could be used.

“We could easily use that to cover this $215 million so principals don’t have to spend their summers laying off teachers, increasing class sizes and reducing the services that our students still need so urgently right now,” he said.

The budget had not yet been signed off on, but Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council had reached a handshake agreement on the budget for Fiscal Year 2023.

“We’re in a very dangerous time right now that many people are not realizing,” Adams said Fiday. “We’re dropping students so much, this may impact our federal funding, and we better now start making these smart decisions. 

That agreement does include some good news for students.There’s $101 million budgeted for enriching summer activities for kids. The budget also includes $50 million for upgrading the cafeterias at 100 schools located in Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity neighborhoods. There’s also funding for summer jobs for city youth.