NEW YORK (PIX11) — Chancellor David C. Banks said Tuesday it is hard to imagine any program would go untouched by potentially steep cuts to the Department of Education’s $37 billion budget.
However, parents worried about class size or not having that after-school program push back against any potential cuts that may flow through the City Council, according to members of the legislative body.
“It’s going to probably affect every aspect of what we do so it’s not any specific program,” Banks said about the cuts up to 15% on WNYC. “I can’t imagine any program that’s not going to be affected by cuts of the size.”
Banks said details of the potential cuts are still being worked out but said they will strive to protect major goals like literacy for younger children and creating career pathways for older students.
In recent budget negotiations, the City Council has pushed back against any attempts to lower school funding or leave teacher openings vacant.
Brooklyn Councilman Chi Osse said now is the time for parents to make their voices heard ahead of the first round of 5% cuts, also known as PEGs, to be announced in November.
“If parents speak up and talk to their officials on the city level then we can come back some of the cuts happening,” Osse said.
The Council will get to vote on any budget cuts and other council members will tell us the details of the mayor’s plan are important.
“The Department of Education should not be on the table,” said Rafael Salamanca Jr., a Bronx Councilman who acknowledged the tough decisions the mayor needs to make. “This is where our children get educated, and the schools provide more than just learning it’s a safe haven for many kids.”
Council member Kalman Yeger pointed out that not all schools are experiencing staffing issues because enrollment is down.
“The important thing I’ve heard from the mayor over the last couple of years, and he has been very clear, he is not putting cuts in classrooms,” Yeger said.
The United Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers, called the prospect of 15% budget cuts over the next few months, “political gamesmanship,” not a serious solution to the migrant crisis.