New York City’s annual budget must be approved by June, and the City Council is hoping that Mayor Eric Adams will approve a $79.9 million increase in funding for the arts in city schools. The additional money would help bring back programs and teacher positions that were axed during last year’s budget cuts. The proposed amount would increase the per-student arts allocation from $80 to $100.
While schools didn’t have to specifically cut arts programs and teachers for this year’s budget, many principals made the tough decision to do so. However, a spokesperson from the Department of Education told Gothamist that the current fiscal budget includes almost $500 million for arts education and programming and that, “much of this funding is within school budgets, and decisions on how allocations are utilized are made at the school level.”
Meanwhile, a Tweet from Mayor Adams is not going over well on Twitter. On April 12, he tweeted, “Ignore the critics and look at the math: More money was invested per @NYCSchools student last year than ever before. We’ve been very clear that there are fiscal challenges ahead, but we will ALWAYS put our children first.”
One Twitter user responded saying that the figure speaks to inflation and shared a screenshot of one of the DOE’s vendors, School Specialty LLC, “Here are some receipts…$240+ for 36 dry erase paddles?? Same vendor has 21-paddle backs available at Rite Aid for $85.”
Another user chimed in to remind folks that the critics the mayor is referring to are NYC teachers, parents, students and city council members. So, we will have to wait to see what is ultimately decided for the 2023-24 school year.