Adams New York budget plan: More summer programs to keep students busy

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Mayor Eric Adams proposed a budget on Tuesday that expands public school summer programming and increases work opportunities for students.

His remarks on education largely centered on expanding these programs as a way to keep children out of trouble with law enforcement.

“We need to do more for young people, especially when it comes to helping them prepare and train for future careers, because I say it over and over again, people, ‘If you don’t educate , you will be incarcerated,” Adams said during a speech at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn, where he highlighted his first 100 days in office.

But big questions remain about this administration’s spending plans. It remains unclear how the city will spend the remainder of the $7 billion in federal COVID stimulus funding on New York’s school system. The de Blasio administration had planned to spend $3.1 billion in stimulus funds this fiscal year, but only half of that money was spent in the first week of March, according to a recent comptroller report.

Those federal dollars are part of the mayor’s $31 billion education plan in this budget, though city hall officials didn’t immediately say how much they plan to use in the next fiscal year. This budget will be the first Adams has negotiated with the city council, as it seeks to expand its control over the nation’s largest school system.

Tuesday’s proposal – known as the executive budget – comes two months after he presented the preliminary budget which included spending cuts at the Department of Education. This included reinstating a policy in which schools must return money if enrollment declines. It also includes departmental job cuts by eliminating thousands of vacancies and assuming that jobs will not be filled as student enrollment drops.

A new addition between February’s plan and Tuesday’s version: The city expects to save $100 million because there are fewer education department staff on the payroll, according to a budget official from the city. Although it’s not immediately clear, this could include savings from the roughly 900 education department staff who were laid off after not being vaccinated.

Adams and his team will negotiate the budget with city council, and it must be approved by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Here are the highlights of the mayor’s plan released on Tuesday.

Summer programming and career paths

As previously announced, the mayor wants to expand the city’s summer programming known as Summer Rising to an additional 10,000 elementary and middle school students, reaching a total of 110,000 and 210,000 across all grades. The effort — which is a partnership between the Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development — will cost $350 million for K-8 students, according to a hotel press release. of town.

About 45,000 students signed up Monday, the first day to register, said Nathaniel Styer, spokesman for the education department.

Expanded programming can be difficult for schools to achieve. Last year’s expansion rollout was messy with several decisions left to the last minute, including transporting homeless students and children with disabilities. Still, nearly 100,000 K-8 students participated, along with 80,000 high school students, and some saw it as a good transition to in-person instruction after two school years of remote learning.

Adams also proposed expanding the Summer Youth Employment Program, or SYEP, to a total of 90,000 places, which are available for young people aged 14 to 21, and another 10,000 jobs through other city programs. However, the SYEP is not available for undocumented students. The proposed expansion will cost $79 million.

Separately, the mayor has proposed spending $33 million on new “career path” programs. According to the budget documents, the Department of Education would create 25 new pathway programs in “high-growth sectors” like health and information technology.

COVID stimulus spending for new dyslexia supports and bilingual education programs

At the end of this school year, city officials may still have about $4 billion in COVID stimulus funds for schools to spend through the 2024-25 school year. He could have even more if the department underspends what the former mayor’s administration had planned for school resumption, additional special education support and other needs.

City officials have yet to come up with a detailed plan for how the Education Department will spend the remaining federal funds. On Tuesday, a budget official said this budget proposal was just “the first crack” on how stimulus dollars could be used.

The budget documents offered some clues as to what might be funded by the stimulus dollars. Under Adams’ proposal, some stimulus-funded programs would include the expansion of Summer Rising, the recently announced expansion of gifted and talented programs, and the creation of more career paths for middle and high school students.

On top of that, Adams wants to spend $7.4 million over the next three years to “fund new dyslexia screening sites and literacy programs.” Budget documents say the city plans to use stimulus funds to expand ‘access to supports’ throughout the school system and open two dyslexia schools in Districts 5 and 7, in Harlem and the Bronx, respectively. , but it wasn’t immediately clear if Adams’ remarks were on that topic.

Earlier this year, Chancellor David Banks said the city would open a school for students with dyslexia, but provided no further details, including where it would be or how students would be admitted.

In his speech, Adams also highlighted the $11.2 million spent on bilingual programming. According to the budget documents, city officials want to use the stimulus funds to launch 50 new bilingual education programs in 2023, but neither the officials nor the budget documents expanded on where those programs would go.

The city has been under a corrective action plan issued by the state for a year to improve the way it educates students who are learning English as a new language. State officials accused the city of not having enough bilingual programs for its English learners, and in a letter Sent to the city last August, state officials said they were “extremely dismayed and disappointed” by the lack of such programs.

Other initiatives using federal funds would include “improving response time” for families seeking translation and interpretation services – a huge concern among advocates for English language learners and immigrant families – though it is unclear how much would be spent on such an initiative.

Reema Amine is a journalist covering New York City schools with a focus on state politics and English language learners. Contact Reema at [email protected]

Correction: This story originally stated that Summer Rising would cost $101 million, according to a press release from the city. Officials later clarified that the city budget allocated that amount to him, but another $249 million was being paid for through stimulus funding and tax levies.

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