Eric Adams again reverses some planned budget cuts

The mayor’s restoration of education funding followed reversals of some planned cuts to police and fire departments, as well as to sanitation and parks initiatives.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announces that the city will be able to restore $10 million in funding for New York City Department of Education community schools and make $80 million in new investments in Summer Rising at City Hall Friday.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announces that the city will be able to restore $10 million in funding for New York City Department of Education community schools and make $80 million in new investments in Summer Rising at City Hall Friday. Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ budget restoration tour continues. 

Adams announced Friday that the administration will reverse planned budget cuts to community schools and fully fund Summer Rising, the city’s summer school program for elementary and middle school students. 

The reversal of planned cuts, first reported by the Daily News, will restore $10 million in funding to community schools, and fund the Department of Education’s $80 million portion of the Summer Rising program with city dollars, rather than temporary federal stimulus funds, according to the administration. The program was set to cut hours for middle school students. 

“Today’s measured and reasonable restorations to our youth and school programs are due in large part, again, to this administration’s focus on making the right fiscal decision,” Adams said on Friday. 

This is the third announcement about “restoring” budget funding in as many days from the Adams administration ahead of his release of the preliminary fiscal year 2025 budget on Tuesday. In each of these instances, the administration announced an about-face on plans to cut funding to departments that are a part of much broader – and deeply unpopular – citywide budget cuts that the mayor has said are necessary in large part because of the city’s spending on asylum-seekers. (The city is projected to face multi-billion dollar gaps in the coming years, though the fiscal watchdog group Citizens Budget Commission has noted that spending on asylum-seeker services is only one factor in outyear gaps.)

Now, citing higher than anticipated tax revenue and reduced spending on migrants, the administration says that some of the cuts it announced late last year are no longer necessary.

Adams has spent the days leading up to Tuesday’s preliminary budget release celebrating his administration’s “strong fiscal management” that he says allowed the restoration of some of the cuts announced in November, though the administration hasn’t detailed how it is reducing spending on migrant services. 

On Wednesday, Adams announced restored funding to the New York City Police Department and Fire Department that will allow the NYPD to take on another class of recruits and avoid plans for the FDNY to eliminate the so-called “fifth man” position from 20 engine companies. On Thursday, Adams announced a reversal of cuts to the Department of Sanitation that would have removed thousands of litter baskets, as well as restored funding for the city’s Parks Opportunity Program, a job training program for low-income New Yorkers.

Some in the City Council, which negotiates a final budget with the mayor and has been critical of the cuts, viewed the announcements with frustration and skepticism. “The mayor is doing a budget dance with himself, and his rhetoric is out of step with the math,” City Council Member Justin Brannan said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon following the restoration of NYPD and FDNY funding. “All of a sudden, the mayor has found money, with irrationally shifting explanations and numbers, cutting into the credibility of his narrative that the city has an insurmountable budget gap that demands overly broad cuts.” In a joint statement on Thursday, Brannan and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams praised the restoration of sanitation and parks funding, but also called for the administration to “accurately budget, restore its most harmful cuts, and take a different approach that prioritizes vital services for New Yorkers.”

“He has his role, we have our role,” Adams said on Friday after a reporter asked about Brannan questioning the administration’s budgeting. “What I need the council member to do is make sure that we’re not sending the wrong message to New Yorkers that we’re manufacturing a crisis.” Adams then made a curious reference to the lack of a migrant shelter in Brannan’s district, saying, “We’re going to ask him to do more, like we’re getting ready to announce a shelter that we’re going to have to open in his district because he doesn’t have any around this migrant, asylum-seeker issue.” According to a source with knowledge of the situation, there are no plans to open a migrant shelter in Brannan’s district, but there are plans for a homeless shelter for veterans.

Responding to the funding restoration announced on Friday, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew alluded to other education cuts that remain in place. “Good, now keep going,” Mulgrew said in a statement. “Needless cuts to community schools and Summer Rising would have been devastating. This is a step in the right direction. Now, the city needs to walk back the other proposed education cuts.” The UFT sued the Adams administration last month over cuts to education funding, blasting officials’ claims that the city’s fiscal crisis has been caused by the influx of migrants as a “false narrative.”

Despite the funding restorations announced in the last few days, Adams was adamant that the city is still in a precarious position and facing a projected $7 billion in the coming fiscal year. “We do not want it to be taken as a signal that our city is out of the woods,” Adams said.