NYC is appealing the judge’s order temporarily barring school budget cuts

New York City is appealing a judge’s order temporarily halting individual school budget cuts amid declining student enrollment.

In a filing filed Thursday, the city asked an appeals court to vacate the injunction issued last week by Manhattan Superior Court Judge Lyle Frank.

“I am deeply concerned about our ability to ensure the orderly opening of schools this September,” School Chancellor David Banks said in an affidavit filed Thursday.

“I cannot stress enough how momentous and even catastrophic this is for our city,” he added.

The judge’s order followed a lawsuit filed by a group of parents and teachers alleging that the city flouted state laws when it passed a budget before an Education Department advisory panel could approve it.

Banken described the court order as “difficult to interpret” and “strongly disruptive” to operations – from negatively impacting the launch of dyslexia programs to processing new internships for teachers fired from their old schools.

“The disruption of this process by the TRO (interim restraining order) poses a major risk of impeding the orderly opening of schools by delaying staffing, holding programs in limbo and not ordering supplies and services,” he said in the court record.

Public school supporters, including parents, teachers and students, gathered with City Council members on the steps of Tweed Courthouse
Public school advocates, including parents, teachers and students, marched with city council members on July 18 against cuts in the public school budget.
Gina M Randazzo/ZUMA Press Wire

The Chancellor added that August was the “busiest and most critical time” to prepare for the reopening of schools.

The budget cuts come as public schools — including 3K and PreK, as well as charter schools — have lost 73,000 students since the pandemic began, according to the city’s independent Budget Office. It also comes that federal funds used to compensate schools for enrollment losses are due to expire in two years.

Next year’s school budgets incorporate DOE projections to lose tens of thousands more students from the public system.

Overall, the Office of the New York City Comptroller predicts that principals could lose at least $372 million overall from their individual school budgets.

“It’s the devastating school budget cuts that are preventing schools from opening in an orderly manner,” said Leonie Haimson, an education advocate who is campaigning to restore budget cuts to reduce class sizes.

“Heads of schools say they would like to wait until the court’s final decisions are made and the council has an opportunity to retract if they can restore their budgets,” she said.

Additional reporting by Priscilla DeGregory. NYC is appealing the judge’s order temporarily barring school budget cuts


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