District 20 opposes school budget cuts

By Michèle De Meglio

District 20’s Community Education Council (CEC) is joining parents across Brooklyn in taking a stand against school budget cuts. The council just passed a resolution, which is being circulated by CECs throughout the city, asking the city and state to reinstate the millions of dollars taken away from local schools. Last month, $180 million was cut from schools. Next year, the DOE plans to slash $324 million. “The state legislature, the governor, the City Council and the mayor must keep the promises to our school children,” the CEC asserts in the resolution. That means new school buildings, lower class size, and support for struggling students, parents say. “We demand that the mayor and the City Council keep the promise by restoring the half billion dollars in cuts for this year and next,” the CEC says in the resolution. Furthermore, “We demand that the governor and state legislature keep the promise and restore the missing $193 million in foundation aid.” The resolution cites the importance of the money, noting that the funding would “reduce class size, reform middle schools and high schools, provide for the needs of English Language Learners, and achieve other fundamental school reforms.” City Department of Education (DOE) officials have acknowledged that budget cuts are detrimental to schools but said they’re necessary, as the city is in the midst of a financial crisis. In a letter to principals last month, schools Chancellor Joel Klein said, “Please keep in mind that no one – not me, not the mayor – wants to cut money from schools. But sadly the economy is faltering and revenues are down.” The DOE says it will continue to look for ways to cut money from the bureaucracy in hope of minimizing the effect on schools. The DOE says it cut $230 million from the bureaucracy and sent the money to schools during the last two fiscal years.

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