The New York City teachers’ union is suing Mayor Eric Adams for budget cuts caused by the city’s immigration crisis.
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) filed the lawsuit last month, claiming Adam’s plan to reduce the education budget violated the state constitution.
“The administration can’t go around touting the tourism recovery and the return of the city’s pre-pandemic jobs, and then create a fiscal crisis and cut education because of its own mismanagement of the asylum seeker problem,” said UFT president Michael Mulgrew in a press release. “Our schools and our families deserve better.”
The challenges of the immigration crisis, for which some experts blame the Biden administration, first became public when Mayor Adams explained the influx of immigrants could cost the city $12 billion in just three years.
“Since last year, nearly 100,000 asylum seekers have arrived in our city asking for shelter, and we are past our breaking point. New York City has been left to pick up the pieces of a broken immigration system – one that is projected to cost our city $12 billion over the course of three fiscal years,” Adams said last August. “This is the budgetary reality we are facing if we don’t get the additional support we need.”
The city offers immigrants services ranging from legal assistance to healthcare to clothing.
In September, Adams directed all state agencies to cut their budgets by 5% – with additional cuts still on the table.
The New York City Department of Education may have to cut as much as $2 billion out of its massive $37 billion budget.
According to the UFT lawsuit, those cuts took funding away from programs like universal Pre-K, after-school and summer school, and computer science programs.
“Budgeting is an artform, not a science,” the lawsuit claimed. “New York City Mayors regularly overstate the size of costs while underestimating projected revenue.”
Ironically, the suit is full of claims that Adams is overestimating the cost of aiding immigrants, while simultaneously insisting that public schools need more money to serve incoming immigrant students.
But the reality is that NYC public schools already receive more funding than anywhere else in the nation.
NYC public schools currently receive $38,000 per pupil – and that number is expected to rise to $41,000 by 2026.
A 5% cut would reduce per pupil funding by nearly $2,000, but NYC’s education budget would still be more than double the national average of $16,000 spent per student.
In other words – even with Adam’s budget cuts – NYC is paying the equivalent of private university tuition for nearly a million K-12 students.