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Mayor Adams announces reversal of education cuts in last-minute decision

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Mayor Eric Adams declared the rescinding of certain cuts to the Department of Education, specifically targeting the Summer Rising Program and community schools. This decision comes merely two months after these programs faced reductions, signaling a swift policy shift by the city administration.

Mayor Adams, expressing his enthusiasm, stated, “I’m pleased to announce the restoration of funding and the allocation of new city resources to benefit our youth and the various programs crucial to their success across the city.” The mayor reinstated $10 million for community schools and an additional $80 million for the Summer Rising Program, previously sustained by COVID stimulus funds nearing expiration.

The Summer Rising Program for middle schoolers had encountered diminished scheduling, with a reduction from five days a week to four, along with shortened hours. The mayor’s announcement instills hope that the program will revert to its original form, providing vital engagement for children during the summer, addressing pandemic-induced learning loss, and supporting families with childcare and daily meals, according to David Banks, the city’s school’s chancellor.

This announcement garnered positive reactions from the United Federation of Teachers, who had recently taken legal action against the Adams administration for millions in education cuts. Michael Mulgrew, president of UFT, hailed the move as a “step in the right direction” while urging a reevaluation of other proposed education cuts.

This reversal marks the third in a week, following Mayor Adams’ decision to reinstate prior cuts to the fire, police, and sanitation departments. It precedes the unveiling of the mayor’s preliminary budget plan by less than a week. The city contends that budget cuts are indispensable to address the escalating costs associated with housing and feeding asylum seekers, an assertion questioned by the city council amid conflicting financial projections.

City Councilman Justin Brannan, the finance chair, underscored the need for a consensus on available funds, citing a new economic forecast suggesting an additional $1.5 to $1.6 billion beyond the Office of Management and Budget’s estimates for FY24 and FY25.

These reversals have prompted scrutiny of City Hall’s management and raised questions about the actual severity of the crisis. City budget director Jaques Jiha clarified that the restorations, totaling about $200 million, were a prioritized decision by the mayor, emphasizing the persistence of a significant fiscal gap.

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