Mark Cannizzaro, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, said not all schools are facing reductions; some with increased enrollments will even see more funds.
“It’s really varied out there right now,” he said. “Some schools are feeling more pain than others.”
For example, parents and educators have reported their schools are losing core subject teachers, special education teachers and arts instructors. Some expect to see cuts to enrichment programs.
“The worst I’ve heard is 11 teachers [at one school] being excessed, and that’s a lot of lives displaced,” Cannizzaro said. Quite often these are your younger, enthusiastic people who want to see make careers out of this and not get discouraged. So that’s kind of heartbreaking.”
Cannizzaro said principals will be able to appeal the enrollment projections and get additional funding, but the timing of those adjustments could make it harder to hire staff.
Christine Montera, a teacher at the East Bronx Academy, said her school will have to excess as many as 10 teachers.
“One of the biggest concerns is the amount of support we’ll be able to give students,” she said. Core funding for her school is being reduced by over $1 million, she said, which does not include the additional stimulus funds and grants that the education department has promised will come later.
Montera said she’s concerned there won’t be enough staff to cover special education classes that require two teachers, that class sizes in general will balloon and students will lose the momentum they’ve gained after a more normal school year. “We spent much of this year assessing,” she said. “Now we’re ready to implement and accelerate learning.” She said staff cuts will make that harder.
In the past, Adams has said he hopes city schools will regain students and that education budgets will grow again.
But Virginia Avetisian, a parent at a Bronx elementary school, worries about school budgets will encourage more families to reduce the system and the city.
She said several teachers at her daughter’s school are being excessive, including the music teacher of 16 years, and that the band program is ending.
“They’re taking the programs that add joy and creativity to school and cutting that,” she said.
“We chose public school. We don’t want to go to private school. We didn’t move to the suburbs. We love the diversity and the experience and just the overall environment that our kids would get from a public school. And we want to stay here,” Avetisian said. “But if they’re going to cut everything, we will stick it out and supplement, but I know many other people are going to leave.”