Public schools will lose $452 million this September.
According to the city Department of Education (DOE), that’s the “gap” between the agency’s available budget and its escalating operating costs.
As a result, schools will take a 3.8 percent cut (that figure might be higher or lower depending on the individual school) and a $20 million budget cut is planned for the DOE’s central administration at its Tweed Courthouse headquarters in Manhattan.
Brooklyn parents say the cuts will devastate local schools, which have already endured significant budget cuts in recent years as the economy has faltered.
“I think it’s going to hit hard and I don’t think people realize how hard it’s going to hit,” said Mario Aguila, president of School District 14’s Community Education Council (CEC), which advocates for schools in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
“Things like after−school programs are going to be cut,” said Jim Devor, first vice president for District 15’s CEC, representing Red Hook, Park Slope and Sunset Park. “The last resort most principals will do will be laying off teaching staff but I think there will be substantial layoffs in support personnel, paras, and other support services. I think after−school programs will be decimated. I think things like Saturday academies will be seriously harmed.”
In many instances, schools have already limited or eliminated their music, art, after−school and Saturday programs. Considering that, there’s not much “fat” left to cut, parents say.
“Most principals that I’ve talked to have told me there is nothing else to cut. There has to be a bone that’s being cut this time. There’s no fat left,” Devor said. “Things like enrichment programs and professional development will be decimated because there’s nowhere else to cut.”
By press time, principals had not provided the DOE with outlines of their budgets to specify where the cuts would be taken.
If after−school programs are further limited, parents will suffer, Aguila said.
“Without after−school programs, a lot of parents aren’t going to know what to do with their kids because you have a lot of working parents and they depend on these programs,” he said.