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Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks celebrate resurgence as NYC public school enrollment rises first time in 8 years

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Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Education Chancellor David C. Banks jointly heralded the long-awaited reversal of a declining trend as preliminary data reveals a 1 percent surge in student enrollment, equating to approximately 8,000 additional students for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The increase, marking the first uptick in eight years, consolidates New York City’s position as the nation’s largest school district with a total enrollment of around 915,000 students.

Mayor Adams, buoyed by this positive shift, emphasized the broader resurgence of the city, stating, “When we say New York City is back, we are not just talking about our economy — we are talking about our communities and our entire city. And after eight years of declining enrollment, New York City public schools are back.”

Chancellor Banks echoed the sentiment, expressing his excitement about the enrollment growth across the city and attributing it to effective strategies implemented by the Adams administration, including the impactful Project Open Arms initiative.

“With a majority of schools gaining additional funding during this mid-year adjustment, we are well positioned to meet the challenges ahead,” stated Chancellor Banks.

However, he highlighted the need for increased state and federal funding to sustain this progress, particularly for students in temporary housing.

The positive enrollment trend comes as the Adams administration navigates the post-COVID-19 era without the cushion of federal stimulus funds.

Approximately 57 percent of schools are anticipated to receive a substantial boost, with a total of $183 million allocated — averaging $209,000 per school — in additional Fair Student Funding due to higher-than-projected enrollment.

This aligns with the administration’s commitment to equitable education, ensuring that schools with higher enrollments and those serving students with additional needs receive the necessary resources.

The Adams administration’s Fair Student Funding policy is a key instrument in realizing this commitment, and increased enrollment further strengthens their advocacy for additional state and federal funding. Despite this positive trajectory, the administration faces the challenge of maintaining compliance with the state’s new class size mandates.

The recently published annual class size report affirms the city’s adherence for the current school year, but sustaining compliance over the coming years will require additional resources.

Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks reaffirmed their commitment to advocating for state and federal funding to support students and families, especially as the law mandates smaller class sizes in the future.

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