Brooklyn – Assemblyman Peter Abbate led a coalition of Brooklyn lawmakers today in sending a letter to Chancellor of Schools Cathie Black requesting that she immediately reverse her decision to seize schools’ surplus funds. Abbate was joined by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assembly Members Inez Barron, James Brennan, Alec Brook-Krasny, Joseph Lentol and Joan Millman, Senator Diane Savino and New York City Council Members Charles Barron, Vincent Gentile, Letitia James, Stephen Levin and Michael Nelson.
“That money could save jobs,” Assemblyman Abbate said. “Chancellor Black is stealing money from schools. Whether it’s 30% of the funds or 50%, the point is that this money could go to stopping layoffs. The City’s actions amount to a war on teachers. That money could keep a thousand jobs but instead the City is selfishly taking the money for itself and leaving teachers and students to suffer.”
After publicly condemning Chancellor Black a week ago, Assembly Abbate sought out his fellow New York City lawmakers to join him in demanding the City return requisitioned funds to schools that were able to save money from the previous year’s budget. Chancellor Black has pointed to impending budget cuts as the rationale, but principals, teachers and parents of students have all expressed outrage at the decision. Educators suggest that the move, combined with layoffs city-wide, will cause already crowded classrooms to once again take on more students.
“While we understand the need to prepare for budget cuts,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter, “it is unimaginable to think that our children should be victimized by these preparations. Furthermore, by seizing funds that schools have gone out of their way to save, the DOE is punishing schools that were the most ready for the future and exhibited the most fiscal responsibility. After you yourself encouraged principals to act as CEOs of their schools, is this really the best way to reward their prudence and forward thinking?”