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State judges seem ready to reverse New York City school budget cuts

A judge in New York appears poised to overturn public school budget cuts.

Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank suggested at a hearing on Thursday that the city violated state law when it passed next year's Department of Education budget.

Frank asked his attorney to suggest language that would prevent the order from encroaching on the city's entire budget. He is scheduled to make a judgment on Friday.

In the meantime, he continued with a temporary injunction issued on 22 July, stopping the city from making further cuts.

A group of parents and teachers who filed a lawsuit against the city over budget cuts sought a ruling to temporarily keep school funding at last year's levels.

Plaintiffs allege that the city flouted state law by passing a budget containing at least $215 million in cuts without prior approval from the DOE's Board of Oversight.

City Attorney Bypasses Commissions With ``Declaration Of Emergency'' Issued By President David Banks About 0.69% Of His $31 Billion+ DOE Budget At School Level He argued that he was allowed to do so.

But Frank thought that while declarations were not uncommon, "there must be a good reason." ought to be," said the judge.

A rally to protest budget cuts to city schools outside of the Department of Education headquarters on July 18, 2022. A New York state judge may reverse the cuts due to the city potentially violating state law.
Gina M Randazzo / ZUMA Press Wire

Frank's official order can be approved, but necessary Most likely not, the City Council will re-vote his DOE budget.

Once duly issued, the city may challenge this order.

With principals making important hiring decisions just weeks before schools reopen for the fall, several logistical issues need to be resolved.

The Office of New York City Comptroller Brad Lander found that initial savings were reduced by an average of $403,456 per individual school budget.

The city's lawyers argued an “emergency declaration” issued by Schools Chancellor David Banks allowed them to make the cuts without approval from the DOE’s oversight board.
Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

Budgets were cut as the population plummeted, but schools under 400 with increased enrollment were expected to get more funding.

Laura Barbieri, special counsel for Advocates for Justice, said lawyers can suggest the wording of the ruling that the judge expects. order.

City attorneys also argued that the DOE item could not be isolated from the city's overall budget, and that the city's budget was balanced and voted on as a whole. However, plaintiffs' attorneys denied that such relief was possible.

Mayor Eric Adams pledged to abide by the court's ruling at a separate press conference on Thursday.

"We'll see what the judge says and move on. We're going to do everything necessary to make sure the schools are open," Adams said.

"I am a mayor who is committed to providing schools with the resources they need, and I am proud of that," he added.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on the hearing, and the DOE did not immediately respond to questions about logistics.

Additional report by Bernadette Hogan