Just three months after the city’s schools managed to escape deep budget cuts, Mayor Bloomberg is asking the DOE, along with all other city agencies, to cut this year’s budget by 2.5 percent — or $185 million — by Oct. 8.
Citing the slowing economy and likely layoffs in the financial sector, which employs many of the city’s residents who pay the most taxes, the mayor yesterday asked agencies to cut 2.5 percent from their already thin budgets for this year and 5 percent from their projected budgets for the fiscal year that begins next July. For the DOE, this means finding $185 million in its $7.5 billion city budget to cut this year and nearly $400 million to excise from next year’s projected budget.
UFT President Randi Weingarten issued a statement calling on the DOE to “immunize kids through these tough times and keep cuts away from the classroom,” as they were, for the most part, this spring, when massive rallies and sustained protest organized by the hastily formed and broad-based Keep the Promises Coalition insulated individual schools from the bulk of the cuts inflicted to the DOE and other city agencies, especially after the City Council took approval of the city’s budget to the wire over the schools cuts. But at the time, the city was sitting on a surplus and had just received a massive infusion of new state funds for education as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement. The financial picture is very different now.