New York City public schools will not be penalized for declines in enrollment this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said Monday.
As a result, city officials are giving back $130 million in funds to 877 public schools that were at risk of having their budgets slashed due to shorter-than-normal rosters.
Schools across the city have experienced drops in enrollment during the past year with about 960,000 students currently enrolled in the public school system. That number represents a 4% drop in enrollment from the year before, according to data from the Department of Education, with the most drastic decrease occurring in the city’s 3-k and pre-K programs which have seen declines in enrollment by 8% and 13% respectively.
The mayor and chancellor’s decision to return the funds comes after staunch advocacy from school leadership, parents and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who asked City Hall to try to relieve schools of as much financial loss as possible, de Blasio said Monday.
“The good news is, this money going back to the schools means more money for additional teachers, substitutes for tutoring, for social and emotional learning, for anything the school community needs as part of this crucial moment, bringing schools back and addressing the learning loss,” said de Blasio.
The reversal was made possible in part due to extra funds the city will get as part of the federal stimulus package, de Blasio added.