Earlier today, parents, teachers, students, advocates, and elected officials urged the Mayor to cut the bloated middle management and contracts at the Departement of Education (DOE), not on-the-ground services schools desperately need, make sure that all agencies share fairly in the belt-tightening, and called of Governor to raise taxes on New York’s “Ultra – wealthy” instead.
“Our students were short-changed before the pandemic, with large class sizes, too few social workers and guidance counselors, and too few permanent school nurses. Our students will never get back the instructional time they have missed during the pandemic. They will never get back the missed milestones, like graduations, field trips, and proms. They will never get back lost family members, friends, principals, educators, paraprofessionals, counselors, cafeteria workers, and other loved ones. We cannot impose more pain and loss on them by cutting direct services, unless we have turned over every stone to find other areas to cut,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education.
Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters, suggested that Mayor Bill de Blasio could start by “eliminating wasteful contracts of over $700 million for busing we’re not using, professional development that’s not happening, and consultants who are doing who knows what.” She remarked that the proposed DOE budget envisions spending $300 million on the mid-level bureaucracy, almost twice as much as in 2014.
“New York is facing a huge revenue shortfall and there will be hard choices, but cuts should not fall disproportionately on our children’s education,” said Council Member Brad Lander, pointing out that while DOE represents 20% of the City’s budget, it is facing 22% of the cuts, “while the NYPD, which represents 7% of the budget, is only absorbing 1%. If we must freeze hires and not replace retiring teachers, counselors, and social workers, then we should do the same at the NYPD.”
“Our children should come first. The Governor and the Mayor’s proposed cuts to public schools during a moment of profound collective loss and trauma are both unjust and unnecessary, ” remarked Liat Olenick, an elementary school teacher, MORE-UFT member and Indivisible Nation BK co-president. “The Governor should reverse his proposed statewide cuts to public education and instead levy moderate taxes on New York’s ultra-wealthy, and the Mayor should cut extraneous DOE contracts, and freeze funding for the NYPD instead of slashing fair student funding and hiring.”