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District 21 fights against DOE cuts

Another Community Education Council (CEC) has joined the fight against school budget cuts. District 21’s CEC is the latest group to pass a resolution calling for a reversal of the city and state’s budget cuts to public schools. “We will continue to oppose any cuts,” said Ronald Stewart, president of the CEC, which advocates for schools in Coney Island and Bensonhurst. Stewart said the principals of District 21’s schools are still reeling from the $180 million cut this year and dreading the $324 million cut slated for next year. “A lot of them are saying that a lot of the programs that they plan to implement for September either have to be put on hold or eliminated,” Stewart explained. The principals are concerned that without sufficient tutoring and after-school programs for students and professional development for teachers, schools will lose their footing “and that will affect their standings” on their annual progress reports, Stewart said. Stewart asserted that it’s unfair for the city Department of Education (DOE) to hold eighth-graders to tougher promotion standards as part of a new policy when funding for tutoring programs is being cut. “They want the students in the eighth grade to come up to par and move on to the ninth grade,” he explained. But, “they’re losing programs.” “That is ridiculous,” he continued. The resolution passed by District 21’s CEC was also passed by several other councils, including those for Districts 20, 22 and 15. The resolution states, “The mayor committed to raise New York City’s investment in our children’s education by $2.2 billion over four years but is taking back $180 million this year, with $100 million coming right out of the classrooms, and cutting an additional $324 million next year for a two-year total of more than one-half billion dollars.” Furthermore, “We demand that the mayor and the City Council keep the promise by restoring the half billion dollars in cuts for this year and next.”

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