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NYC schools chancellor narrows down cabinet picks, makes subtle changes to legislation

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Mayor Adams and DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez in Windsor Terrace on Jan. 19
Photo by Ben Brachfeld

David C. Banks, New York City’s School Chancellor with the Department of Education (DOE) announced that he had selected his picks for the department’s cabinet members – reducing the group from 15 to seven individuals. 

On Jan. 18, Banks named the members of the DOE’s senior leadership team which comprised of Daniel Weisberg as First Deputy Chancellor; Dr. Kara Ahmed as Deputy Chancellor of Early Childhood Education; Savita Bharadwa as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor; Dr. Desmond Blackburn as Deputy Chancellor of School Leadership; Kenita D. Lloyd as Deputy Chancellor of Family and Community Engagement and External Affairs; and Carolyne V. Quintana as Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning Opportunities.

“With this diverse team in place, we will ensure that schools are directly connected with leadership and that support can be provided in a streamlined, simplified manner that helps unlock the possibilities of our public schools and provides every student with the world-class educational experience they deserve,” said Banks in a statement. “This phenomenal team of public servants is ready to get stuff done for the young people of New York City.”

The smaller cabinet was formed in order to save money used in city government to be reallocated to schools that need additional direct funding. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, NYC public schools have lost a significant amount of money, and if revenue doesn’t improve the public school system could lose up to $1 billion in the next four years if no emergent financial assistance is allocated to NYC. 

Nearly all of the newly announced members are either products of NYC schools themselves or have taught in the NYC school system – excluding Weisburg Deputy School Chancellor, who worked as superintendent of Brevard Public Schools (BPS) district – the sixth-largest school district in the county.  Mayor Adams emphasized the necessity of a strong leadership group to protect NYC COVID-19  and to keep schools “Safe and Open.”

This budgeting crisis is one of the many issues the new cabinet is slated to address, with negotiations for the city to receive $8 billion by the 2025 fiscal year already underway. Additionally, NYS Governor Kathy Hochul proposed an additional $2.1 billion for NYC schools. Governor Hochul. If passed, the Governor wants to spend $31.3 billion on school districts next fiscal year – which represents which would hopefully be able to provide more support for students as well as; saying she would wish to use these funds to 

New York City would receive $12.3 billion, which is $531 million more than they currently get, representing a 4.5% increase in funding per pupil, according to figures released Tuesday night. Charter schools in New York City would receive a 4.7% increase in per-pupil funding under Hochul’s proposal.

“New York City is set to receive $12.3 billion, which is $531 million more than they currently get, representing a 4.5% increase in funding per pupil, according to figures released Tuesday night,” 

Mayor Adams has continually encouraged New Yorkers to get the COVID-19 vaccine for those children 12, as well as upping vaccinations to protect vulnerable groups now eligible for the vaccination to protect from serious COVID-29 symptoms. Vaccines and potentially tens of thousands of New Yorkers now have been effective. Mayor Adams then  spoke on numerous occasions that “schools are the safest place for [our children].”

The group of incoming school leaders included many Black and individuals of color. Perhaps demonstrating Adams’s values of representation in government, including Black cabinet members as well as and many other city government officials.

This new DOE cabinet has a lot of work to organize and collaborate in order to keep the pandemic at bay and get our city’s public schooling. And other school-related “safe and open” – avoiding virtual learning as much as possible and keeping schools open so students can attend in person have their education and social lives 

In final public remarks Tuesday, Chancellor Banks addressed his confidence in having invited scholars, philosophers and other medical professionals to help guide him into making the safest decisions, especially when it comes to COVID.  NYC schools out of the throes and dangers of the pandemic, while still being able to learn and serve school children at full capacity.

“New York City is set to receive $12.3 billion, which is $531 million more than they currently get, representing a 4.5% increase in funding per pupil, according to figures released Tuesday night,” said Charter schools in New York City would receive a 4.7% increase in per-pupil funding under Hochul’s proposal. “We need more funding to get back to where we were pre-pandemic.”

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