Sources close to the negotiations between the Adams administration and the City Council to restore funding to the city’s public schools said the deal has hit an impasse.
According to two sources within the City Council, the Adams administration has offered to restore $250 million in funding to schools only if the council will agree to sign a joint statement that future cuts to schools will be necessary in later years unless enrollment rebounds or the state or federal government provides additional money. The sources asked to remain anonymous so as not to hinder negotiations with the mayor’s office. So far, the council has refused to accept those terms. Council members are also seeking clarity around the precise total of the cuts the education department has planned.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office confirmed that a deal had not been reached but did not provide comment on why the negotiations had stalled.
Mayor Eric Adams and New York City council members have been in discussions to restore funding to schools since June, according to the sources within the City Council, but negotiations have heated up in recent weeks as principals have had to let go of teachers and the cuts have come under increased scrutiny from parents. Sources said the mayor and schools chancellor David Banks have been directly involved in the negotiations.
The Adams Administration cut $215 million from schools due to enrollment declines as part of the city budget in June. Since then, that estimate has grown. City Comptroller Brad Lander has said that schools are facing a net reduction of at least $372 million, based on publicly available data.
Speaking on the Brian Lehrer Show Friday morning, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the education department did not provide the City Council with accurate information as the budget was being negotiated about what the cuts to school budgets would entail — which are based on declining enrollment at city schools
She said education department officials claimed the reductions “would just be primarily vacancies being eliminated but we know, we now know, it’s led to schools losing key staff and entire programs.”
School principals have already begun to cut a range of staff positions in response to the reductions to individual school budgets, eliminating arts teachers, social workers, general education teachers, school aides, or language programs. Many have said class sizes will likely grow as a result.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.