City schools may have caught a break

Judge rules council, mayor have to reconsider approved FY 23 school budget


The city council and Mayor Eric Adams will have to revisit the 2023 school year budget after a New York state supreme court judge Friday returned the education portion of the city’s budget for reconsideration.

In the case of Tucker, et al v. the City of New York, Judge Lyle Frank ordered the following:

“The New York City FY ’23 budget as it relates to expenditures by the Department of Education only is vacated, and all such spending levels shall revert back to the levels in Fiscal Year 2022 New York City budget.”

Council speaker Adrienne Adams was happy with the decision and continues to blame the school budget issue on the department of education.

decision gives the city council a second chance to recast their vote on the spending plan, which they approved in June on the $215 million budget cut due to falling student enrollment.

Yet, this lawsuit is not focused on the budget itself. Plaintiffs argue the education department violated state law by bypassing the budget approval process and having the city council vote on it before a education policy hearing.

The reason for bypassing the hearing was planned by School Chancellor David Banks, who called it an emergency declaration. However, Frank claims that this was not an emergency.

“He (Frank) was clear that the repeated use of Emergency Declarations by the Chancellor was invalid and thus the order of votes by the Council and the PEP violated state law,” said Attorney Laura Barbieri, special council for Advocates for Justice.

Frank announced his intentions to side with teachers and parents in response to the $215 million budget cuts announced by Mayor Adams.

But in reality, these cuts can be far greater than the $215 million — more like $300 million, according to Lander.

The mayor claims he will agree to the judges' decision.

Plaintiffs and lawyers are worried that the city might file another appeal because this will further delay the case before school begins.

“The Council has been clear that the school budgets should be restored, and the Department of Education must immediately fix the problems it has caused for New York City public school students,” Adams wrote in a statement Friday. “It has become clearer than ever that DOE lacks transparency and accountability and removed hundreds of millions of dollars more from school budgets than it ever conveyed in the city budget.”

She also mentioned the council is considering further legal actions to ensure the education department permanently restores school budgets and is completely transparent. “Mayor (Eric) Adams and Chancellor (David) Banks are risking the health of our school system and students,” she said, “and they must resolve this issue immediately.”

A group representing immigrant families and educators pointed out the money the schools needed is already available.

“The court’s decision is a major win for parents, students and educators who have called to restore Mayor Adams unjust cuts to public school funding,” Julissa Bisono, co-director of organizing at the organization, said. “The mayor must now reverse course and restore full funding, which Comptroller (Brad) Lander has made very clear is available.”

new york city, school budget, mayor eric adams, david banks, adrienne adams, school chancellor, judge Lyle Frank, Tucker v. new york city, department of education