Schools and summer programs take big budget hit amid coronavirus pandemic

FILE - Students play basketball at a summer camp.
FILE - Students play basketball at a summer camp.

City schools and summer programs are taking a devastating budget hit amid the coronavirus fiscal crisis.
Mayor de Blasio proposed cutting more than $600 million in education spending next fiscal year and axing the city’s free youth summer programming as part of an effort to save more than $6 billion amid the pandemic.
De Blasio said Thursday the city expects to lose $7.4 billion in tax revenue from the fallout of the virus’s spread.
The cuts include the previously-announced elimination of the city’s summer youth employment program, which provides city-funded jobs for 75,000 young people. On Thursday, de Blasio announced that free summer camps for city youth will also be suspended.
The close to $200 million in proposed cuts from the city’s Youth and Community Development Department, which runs afterschool and summer youth programs, would represent nearly a quarter of that agency’s budget.
The nation’s largest school system will also see substantial cutbacks.
FILE - Kids do crafts at a summer camp.
FILE - Kids do crafts at a summer camp. (Kevin C.Downs/for New York Daily News)
Officials had already announced a $100 million reduction in Fair Student Funding, the major funding stream that supports all city schools based on their number of needy students.

On Thursday, officials said they expect to save $100 million this fiscal year from the closure of school buildings and spending restrictions from this school year.

Another hundred million dollars will be saved next fiscal year through hiring freezes, according to city budget documents. Education Department officials did not immediately respond to questions about the details of the hiring freezes.

The city also proposed halting the expansion of the free preschool program for city three-year-olds, suspending some of the mayor’s signature initiatives to provide additional guidance counselors and expand college access.

The executive budget must be approved by June 30, when the city’s fiscal year ends. The City Council still must approve the final budget, although normal budget negotiation meetings have been suspended amid the pandemic.

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