By Caroline Iosso, Senior Policy Associate, Homes for the Homeless (HFH)
In a major blow to New York City’s public schools, the City’s FY2023 budget passed in June with a more than $200 million budget cut to the school system. The City Council, which approved the Adams Administration’s plan, has now felt the pressure from parents and educators who are deeply troubled and angry about what these cuts will mean for children’s educations. Over the past few weeks, there has been significant back and forth among a group of outraged citizens, City Council members, and the mayor, which has culminated last week in a judicial order for the City Council to pass a new, amended budget. The Adams Administration filed a notice of appeal.i Earlier this week, the appellate court put a temporary pause on this order, and allowed the budget cuts to stand.ii This situation continues to evolve.
For every child seeking an education in New York City’s district-run schools, these cuts are concerning. For the thousands of children in temporary housing, for whom education can already be difficult to access, these cuts could be devastating to critical enrichment and support services—including pandemic-related academic recovery services for students with special needs. Housing instability leads to higher rates of mid-year school transfers, chronic absenteeism, and a lack of timely access to educational supports. The increased school instability and frequent barriers to learning can cause these students to fall behind and can ultimately hamper their academic achievement.iii
With the help of Chalkbeat NY’s analysis of these cuts at each school across the city, we examined the potential impact on the three schools with the most students who live at our HFH shelters. Here is what we found:
We also looked at the proposed cuts at the schools where the largest numbers of homeless students attend. One hundred and seventy-four students in shelter attend P.S. 004 Crotona,vi which faces a cut of $903,360. P.S. 053 Basheer Quisim is attended by 171 studentsvii in shelter and will potentially lose $650,762 in funding. Both schools are located in Bronx’s District 9.
All students experiencing homelessness deserve a high-quality education. Enriching activities, understanding teachers, engaging programs, and supportive mentors can help these students manage the stress and trauma of being unstably housed. Further, these educational supports can help students envision a different future for themselves and can jumpstart them on a path to achieving it.
Cuts close to a half a million dollars per school are untenable. They will hurt all New Yorkers in the long run, and especially low-income and unstably housed students.
iii See, for example: https://www.icphusa.org/reports/housed-without-stability/#school-instability-outlasts-housing-instability
iv As of October 2021