No NYC school funding cuts this year even with enrollment decline: Adams and Banks

New York City's Schools Chancellor Banks and Mayor Eric Adams. The two announced that Financial aid is coming for students in temporary housing — including those who may be seeking asylum.
Schools Chancellor David Banks shakes hands with Mayor Eric Adams.
Photo by Dean Moses.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks announced Monday that city public schools will not suffer funding cuts due to lower-than-projected enrollment rates.

The decision will ensure that schools will not lose money because of low mid-year enrollment. Schools will continue to be supported by stimulus funding, which will be utilized in order to assist ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The decision to hold school budgets harmless is about prioritizing the needs of the nearly 1 million children served by New York City public schools every day,” said Adams in a statement on Nov. 7. “We know that our entire school community was and still remains deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But under our administration, we are committed to ensuring that every school has the resources needed to provide the highest quality education for students to thrive.”

Normally during the mid-year process, some schools receive more funding to help with any increased enrollment and need and some schools lose money if their enrollment is lower than what was projected. 

The decision is expected to increase the school budget by approximately $200 million, with an additional provision of almost $12 million to support students of migrant families, over $50 million in hardship support and $100 million in additional budgetary flexibility for this fiscal year.

“As we recover from the disruptions of the pandemic, we will ensure every student has the resources they need to thrive,” Banks said. “This investment will boost our schools that face continued enrollment challenges caused by the pandemic.  Our focus is always on providing our children with the resources they need to succeed academically, emotionally, and physically.” 

This will be the third consecutive year that stimulus funds have been used to make up for low mid-year enrollment, and the money has been crucial in ensuring that schools are able to fully serve the needs of their students.

The DOE will be asking schools in the next fiscal year to return to the mid-year enrollment adjustment process that was practiced before the pandemic, but in the meantime, the mid-year adjustment process will begin later in November and extend throughout the winter.

Other city leaders applauded the announcement, saying it would offer necessary aid and reprieve for schools still struggling to get back on track following the pandemic.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward for our school communities and signifies a major agreement between the administration and my office since this was a major priority for my Education committee and was communicated to the administration,” said City Council Education Chair Rita Joseph on Monday. “Holding school budgets harmless for any enrollment loss that occurs in this year’s mid-year adjustment process means that students at under-enrolled schools will get to experience small class sizes and robust programming despite having fewer peers than expected. It’s hard to overstate how big of a win this is for New York City’s young people.”

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander also chimed in, approving of the decision to hold schools harmless, but also said that his office had previous cautioned about how enrollment projections during the pandemic years resulting in larger than necessary cuts to public schools.

“Holding schools harmless for enrollment declines so that they can provide the instruction and support our students need after these hard pandemic years is exactly the purpose of COVID relief funds,” said Lander on Monday. “I’m glad that the administration and the Chancellor have finally come to the same conclusion. We cannot afford to fuel the self-fulfilling prophesy of underfunding schools based on projected enrollment declines. Quality public education is essential to ensuring New York City remains a vibrant place to raise a family, grow a business, and invest in a community.” 

Last updated 11/7/2022 4:30 pm