Mayor Eric Adams on Friday revealed he is restoring funding to Dept. of Education Community Schools and a student summer program, known as Summer Rising, that he cut in his November budget plan.
Adams’ move follows him reversing other cuts — affecting the NYPD, FDNY, Sanitation and Parks Departments — over the past two days. It also comes as he is set to present his Fiscal Year 2025 preliminary budget on Tuesday, a plan he has said will contain more reductions.
The mayor, during a hastily announced City Hall press conference on Jan. 12, said he would be restoring $10 million of funding for 170 DOE Community Schools, which partner with locally-based organizations to provide wrap-around services to students and their families.
Adams said the city will also restore a roughly $20 million cut to Summer Rising; while, for the first time, it will pay for the $80 million DOE-funded portion of the program, which the agency jointly runs with the city Department of Youth and Community Development. Previously, Summer Rising — a free academic and activity-based program for elementary and middle school students — had largely been funded by COVID-19 federal stimulus money, which is due to run out this year.
The funding restoration to Summer Rising will prevent a planned reduction in program hours and preserve roughly 30,000 of its 110,000 seats that were on the chopping block.
“We know it takes an entire city to raise a child and through Community Schools and the Summer Rising Program, we’re giving our young people a chance to learn and grow and to really explore their talents and imagination,” the mayor told reporters Friday.
Adams made the November reductions in the name of balancing the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year, where his administration projects a $7.1 billion deficit that must be closed. The shortfall, he has said, is mostly driven by providing for tens of thousands of newly arrived migrants, drying up federal pandemic aid, expensive labor deals and a forecasted slowdown in tax revenue.
But due to what Adams characterized as his administration’s “strong fiscal management,” he said it was able to find enough money to reverse some of the $3.7 billion in November cuts. That includes a move to reduce spending on migrant services by 20% and higher than expected tax revenue collections for the current fiscal year.
“Today’s measured and reasonable restorations to our youth and school programs are due in large part again to this administration’s focus on making the right fiscal decisions,” Adams said. “We cannot get it wrong folks. We cannot make mistakes. We have to make sure this budget is balanced and we could pay the bills as they come through.”
However, critics in the City Council have argued that Adams’ recent actions make the November cuts appear largely unnecessary and they show the mayor actually has poor fiscal management.
Adams’ reductions to the DOE and youth programs were among his most unpopular budget trims. The roughly $550 million in cuts even drew a lawsuit from the city’s influential teacher’s union — the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) — in December. The suit was aimed at stopping the administration from going forward with them.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the UFT, said that while he’s pleased with the restorations Adams announced on Friday, more needs to be done.
“Good, now keep going,” Mulgrew said, in a statement. “Needless cuts to community schools and Summer Rising would have been devastating. This is a step in the right direction. Now, the city needs to walk back the other proposed education cuts.”