Deputy Mayor Ana Almanzar, Strategic Initiatives: Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us here today. I am Ana J. Almanzar, deputy mayor for Strategic Initiatives. We’re here today to acknowledge our city’s investment in the academic success and social enrichment of our young people.
Our mayor has exciting budget‑related news to share with you, and I would like to introduce the mayor of the greatest city in the world, Mayor Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much, deputy mayor, and I’m really happy to be here with two individuals who have just really dedicated their lives to uplifting young people, Commissioner Howard and the chancellor of the greatest school system on the globe, and that’s Chancellor David Banks.
This is such an important announcement that we’re making today, and it’s a continuation of our analysis of looking at these challenging budgetary moments that we’re going through, and with an all team approach. The budget director, Jacques Jiha, has been just really looking what can we do with the November plan now that we have a real analysis of the cuts that we had to experience and how do we move forward?
And since day one, this administration has been driven by a clear mission. Our mission is really focus our north stars on protecting the people of the city with public safety, revitalizing our economy and making this city livable for all New Yorkers. And we’re seeing that, as I say over and over again and will continue to say, crime is down, jobs are up, the tourists are back and this city is moving in the right direction in spite of dealing with the 168,000 migrants and asylum seekers that we had to endure since early spring of 2022.
Over 69,000 of them, New Yorkers, over 69,000 are still in our care. Over 57 percent we were able to stabilize and move out of the system, but there’s still a serious, serious budgetary restraint on our cities. And now we’re faced with the fact and reality that the Covid dollars are running out. It will be sunsetting at the end of this fiscal year. We have slowing of tax revenue growth and unresolved labor contracts that we had to resolve with 100 percent of our uniformed unions. We were able to settle and over 90 percent of our other unions were able to settle.
And all of this has created what we’re facing right now, particularly a potential $12 billion gap in our budget because of the migrants and asylum seekers. These are real fiscal challenges, a $7 billion budget gap going into the next two out years.
As a result, we were forced to make some tough choices in last year’s November plan, and so we will continue to update you as we move forward with the choices we had to make. But thanks in a large part to strong fiscal management. And not only do we acknowledge what this team has done, but even the bond raters, as I continue to state, have shown that this city has had strong fiscal management and the savings from our asylum seekers PEGs that we’re going to put in place, 20 percent in out years, we’re able to make some announcements that we’ve been making throughout the week as we continue to look at the numbers.
And today I’m happy to announce that we will be able to restore funding and invest new city dollars in our young people and the programs across the city that help them succeed. For the first time ever, our city is going to fund DOE’s $80 million portion of the Summer Rising program which they run jointly with DYCD. Many people did not realize that a substantial amount of the funding that went to running Summer Rising was not being carried by the city, it was carried by stimulus dollars.
And we are now, for the first time going to pick up that cost with this $80 million portion. Under the previous administration, those Covid stimulus dollars were being used. Those were sunsetting dollars for a permanent program, and we realized that we had to find a way to fund a permanent program that has become extremely popular for our parents.
And the chancellor brought this to our attention on how we were able to give this year‑round, full‑year programming instead of nine months of education, social interaction and active play. And I think it played a major role in what we saw to decrease in violence over our summer because our children had a place to go and a place to be throughout the years throughout the summer months.
110,000 New York City children participated in the program, and this is part of our administration’s record investments towards our young people, including Summer Rising, the Summer Youth Employment Program, 100,000 summer youth employed, and our more than $600 million career pathway and action plans.
And we also, today, we are restoring funding for 170 community schools so students and families can continue to get the support they need both in and out of school. This was one of the conversations that came up at one of our town halls as we continue to analyze the funding of our community schools.
These schools provide essential support to young people and their families, and we are proud that we can continue to fund them this fiscal year. And we’re going to continue to invest in our young people’s future, and this is something that this administration has been committed to do.
But we want to be extremely, extremely clear that we know it takes an entire city to raise a child. And, through community schools and the Summer Rising program, we’re giving our young people a chance to learn and grow and to really explore their talents and imagination and we’re investing in our future.
We were concerned last August when we announced the projected asylum seeker cost, and we provided estimates based on increasing arrivals, increasing cost per household and the analysis of the help coming from our state and federal partners. We are not seeing that financial resources coming from our federal agencies. We’re looking forward to next week to what’s going to happen on our state level. So we knew that the circumstances were not changing, so we had to make adjustments and that is what you’re seeing, the reflection of those adjustments.
And so today’s measured and reasonable restorations to our youth in school programs are due in large part, again, to this administration’s focus on making the right fiscal decision. We cannot get it wrong, folks. I cannot be any clearer in that. We cannot make the mistakes. We have to make sure this budget is balanced and we could pay the bills as they come through in our city coffers. And smart planning, smart actions from the 30‑day announcement we made with single adults and the 60‑day plan of intense services to those that are in our care with the migrant and asylum seekers. These smart decisions is what’s going to allow us to navigate ourselves through this crisis that we’re facing.
So, I want to thank all our city workers who have really rolled up their sleeves and continued to make these hard decisions. And I want to thank Commissioner Howard and Chancellor Banks for how they have been part of the budgetary conversation, looking over some of the cuts and PEGs that we have to do and making the smart decisions that we need to do as we move our city forward.
But we are not out of the woods. And our desire to look at some of these restorations, we do not want it to be taken as a signal that the city is out of the woods. We are not. We still have a $7 billion budget gap that we’re facing. And we will be announcing the budget next week and showing how we are going to do what is required of us by law to balance the budget in two‑year increments.
So, again, thank you so much. I want to thank you, chancellor, and I want to thank you, commissioner. And deputy mayor, I want to turn it back over to you.
Deputy Mayor Almanzar: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Very exciting news for our youth and our entire community, especially those families who will have a place to send their children and be able to extend the day of education that they get during the school day to be able now to do so throughout the summer. And it is now my pleasure to introduce a visionary leader of the New York City Public Schools, David Banks. Chancellor.
Chancellor David Banks, Department of Education: Thank you. Thank you. Good morning, everyone, and thank you, deputy mayor, and thank you, mayor. So, listen, this is great news. This is really great news for all of our kids and our families around the city.
So, let me start first of all with Summer Rising. The Summer Rising is one of the most lauded programs that we’ve rolled out in recent years and maybe the best thing to come out of the pandemic. The demand for Summer Rising was tremendous and the impact of Summer Rising has been so significant for all of our kids and so deeply appreciated by our families.
It keeps our kids engaged during the summer months, aggressively tackles learning loss from the pandemic, and supports our families with childcare and daily meals for their kids. It gets students out of the four walls of their classroom — which is something that I talk about all the time — so that they can, in fact, explore the greatest city on earth as part of their learning experience.
So, I’m thrilled that with the full funding of our stimulus funded Summer Rising funding we can support this program for children this summer. This is a tremendous win for our families. I cannot emphasize this enough. The Summer Rising program is one of the most exciting and well sought programs that we have in New York City public schools.
It’s another win for our families, it’s the restoring of funding to our community schools. So, as the mayor just said, community schools really provide enriching extracurricular activities, school‑based health services, direct student support through mentoring and tutoring, and programs for families like adult education classes.
So, with the restoration of this funding, we’ll be providing these schools with every resource needed to fully support every family. And I’ve met with many of the community school leaders and the advocates for community schools who have encouraged us greatly, please do not cut community schools. And the mayor heard you and he delivered on that, and I’m very excited for all the community schools of families and the community. This is a very, very big deal for them.
I also want to emphasize that prioritizing the funding of programs like Summer Rising would not be possible without mayoral accountability. This mayor and I do everything that we can to make smart, informed decisions as quickly as we can that will have a positive and immediate impact on our communities all across the city.
So, let me be clear, finally, in saying this. Summer Rising. The restoration of Summer Rising is filling in just one of the many gaps that we are facing from the loss of stimulus funding. So, I’m continuing to ring the alarm about the need for additional city and state funding to support programs funded by stimulus under the previous administration like arts programming, PSAL, social workers, bilingual education programs and 3K expansion.
All of those programs were supported by stimulus funding, which is running out. And so we got very tough decisions to make, and the mayor’s doing everything that he can possibly do to identify funding for all of these programs. But we’re thrilled to be here today to announce the restoration of the community schools, and we’ll be able to continue without Summer Rising.
And it’s important that this be made known now, as parents plan early for the summer. And so for those parents who participated in the Summer Rising last year, I’m really excited to know that there’s a green light for them to continue to… That we’ll be moving forward and they will be able to plan accordingly.
So, I want to thank the mayor, in closing, and my colleagues at City Hall for putting our families and their needs front and center today. It’s an exciting day. Thank you so much.
Deputy Mayor Almanzar: This is a game we play when I’m on the podium, I have to play with the microphone back and forth. Thank you, chancellor. It is great to be here and great to be in the companionship of our commissioner from the Department of Youth and Community Development, my esteemed colleague, Commissioner Keith Howard.
Commissioner Keith Howard, Department of Youth and Community Development: Thank you, deputy mayor. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, chancellor. Thank you, budget director. This is a good news Friday. This is a good news Friday for young people and their families and the City of New York. The city funding to replace the temporary federal stimulus money ensures the continued success of Summer Rising. Mr. Mayor, thank you for your leadership and your forward vision.
Summer Rising enters its fourth year offering academic and recreational opportunities that are critical to the development of our young people. Summer Rising also supports the working class, which hardly gets mentioned, right, in terms of, by giving them safe places and to send their children to summer camp.
This year, DYCD will be partnering with 123 community‑based organizations in all five boroughs, including these community‑based organizations that are part of our Gun Violence Blueprint Task Force to identify the six precincts that are leading in shooting incidents in the city. Those are intentional and strategic relationships in partnership.
As the mayor points out, jobs are up and crime is down. It is because of the impact of youth programming like Summer Rising that we are able to keep our young people off the streets and engage with caring adults. It may be January, but like the chancellor just referenced, but the summer is just around the corner.
And I can recall last summer, being at a press conference with the chancellor and the first day of the application we had 50,000 applicants on one day. Remember them? Yes, DYCD and public schools have already begun planning. We never stopped, right? So, we always continue planning to make sure that Summer Rising is working at its utmost optimal.
We look forward to working with our community partners to deliver the excellent programming that New Yorkers desire and have come to expect from this administration.
Again, this is a good news Friday. I’ll just echo what the chancellor and the deputy mayor and the mayor say. This is an opportunity for the parents to go ahead and start your planning for the summer. Thank you. you. Thank you.
Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor. How are you doing? So, I wanted to ask you about the cuts. We talked a little bit earlier this week about some uniform cuts. I believe those agencies… The cuts to uniform agencies… Or, sorry, the restorations to uniform agencies, NYPD, FDNY, Sanitation. It’s my understanding they’re exempt from this next round of PEGs, but I don’t believe the DOE and DYCD are exempt. So, could you just walk through the logic a little bit of why, you know, there was the PEG cut? Now we’re restoring and then these agencies are going to have to do, I believe, another PEG for prelim.
Mayor Adams: Yes, and as the chancellor mentioned, he gave us a list of all of the initiatives that the previous administration put in place that was based on stimulus dollars. There’s a list of them, and we have to, now, that the stimulus dollars are sunsetting, we have to now find ways, if possible, to fund those programs.
And so, you just shared that NYPD, the Department of Sanitation and others are exempt for the next round. We’re still doing analysis to look at where in the Department of Education and other agencies that we can minimize those PEGs, the next round of the PEGs.
So, the door is not closed. We’re still doing analysis. That’s our goal. Our goal, this is such a moving target that continues to move. And between the director, Jacques Jiha, and the heads of those agencies are coming up with ideas as we try to move with the crisis that’s in front of us.
Question: Chancellor, you mentioned a decision like this is only possible because you have a mayoral accountability. I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on why that’s important, and maybe what would have to go into it? How this decision would be different if you didn’t have that?
Chancellor Banks: So, let me say this, right. I’ve been in this system for a long time and I was here as a teacher when prior to us having mayoral accountability. And what you had was, instead of one central leader for a system, you literally had 45 districts around the city and everybody got a chance to do what they wanted, specifically in their own districts. And that is the great challenge when you don’t have mayoral accountability.
The reason we went from the old system to mayoral accountability is because it was very clear at that time that if you wanted to be able to create a level of efficiency and smart decision making, you could not do that if everybody across the city got to do whatever they wanted to do.
And so issues like this, issues like being able to respond to the pandemic and being able to move materials around and masking and helping everyone to be able to respond to the pandemic was another classic example of how when you have mayoral control the mayor can make a decision and then things can move.
If you have to go and talk to 45 different school boards, you cannot affect an entire system. And people always would want to hold the mayor accountable, and yet the mayor, prior to mayoral accountability, did not have full power to execute on things that needed that.
I bore witness to that system. It was a failed system that was rife with patronage and fraud in too many areas. Not everywhere, but too many places. So, I speak from a place of having seen it and knowing that it was really challenged.
The mayoral accountability system is not perfect. There is no perfect system. This is a much better system where we can deliver for the people of New York City and their families and their children than anything else that we’ve had before. And there are countless numbers of issues that I could point to that, because we have mayoral accountability, we’re able to move and make decisions quickly and smart. We have to listen to the community, and this mayor does and I do. And then we try to make the best decisions that we can possibly make.
Question: Hi. Yes, to follow up on that question, how are departments and commissioners supposed to plan if their budgets are constantly fluctuating from going to cuts to then restoration?
And then for the budget director, I wanted to know the past forecast. Was it inaccurate since we’re now restoring some of those cuts? And how can future forecasts be trusted?
Mayor Adams: The director will respond to that. The foundation of what is required to educate children is very much intact and they can plan on that. There are moving pieces that add to the quality of education that we will all like to have. And there are far more, even prior to this crisis, there’s so much more we would all like to do, but financial restraints prevent us from doing that.
But the foundation of what a teacher needs and a principal needs and what children need, that is in place. These are those added pieces that could enhance the educational experience. So, if we didn’t have Summer Rising, it does not mean that our children are not going to be given the foundation of education. Summer Rising enhances that, and it feeds into our overall plan of what we want to do about providing safe spaces for children. And that’s the same with our community schools.
And so what we are looking at, as the chancellor is sharing with us, here are those things that were being funded by stimulus dollars. We need to look at that, that enhanced the educational experience. It’s not going to take away our foundation responsibility that we have to improve reading and writing scores, that we have to think differently about education.
And that is why, as what the chancellor just indicated, why mayoral accountability and school governance is important. This chancellor came in, we’re outpacing the city and state on reading and writing. He introduced a reading curriculum that the entire state is now looking to embrace, and I think the entire country is embracing.
When you look at what this chancellor has done, why would we mess with what is working? This has been a successful chancellor, came in with a vision, and we’re moving that vision in the right direction. That’s why I’m excited about going to Albany and showing how successful we have been doing.
The vision of school accountability was based on can we have a chancellor that could give us results. This vision is being actualized now. So, we’re not doing anything to take away the foundation of educating our children.
Jacques Jiha, Director, Office of Management and Budget: This has nothing to do with forecast. Basically, between November and the January plan, we’re looking at PEGs of like $7 billion. So, the mayor decided to restore about $200 million. This is not moving in a different direction, this has nothing to do with the forecast. It’s just a priority of the mayor, okay, to make sure that the city is safe and clean and that kids have a place to go during the summer. So, these are the decisions we made. It has nothing to do with forecast, okay?
Question: So, the $7 billion gap hasn’t been closed at all, or…
Jiha: We will provide you the updates on Tuesday.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: Aneeta from the Post. Did you work with council members to do this program? And if not, why?
Mayor Adams: To do which program?
Question: To create the Summer Rising restoration. Did you work with council members?
Mayor Adams: The restoration? Once we did the November plan and we sat down and explained with the council members, I don’t think you would find a council member who would be upset that we’re restoring the Summer Rising program.
This is very popular in the district. Many of them were excited about having the programs. Many of them were concerned about that we were going to have to take funding out. They knew that the funding was going to sunset. And so, if you find a council person that’s upset that we’re restoring this, I’m going to be really surprised to know who they are. This is a win for all of us that we’re able to restore Summer Rising programs.
Question: Happy Friday, Mr. Mayor. So, I spoke with Justin Brannan earlier this week and he was saying that these doom and gloom cuts make New Yorkers trust government less. Some are calling this a manufactured crisis. So, I guess why didn’t you see what cuts you could make beforehand or what money you could save or what these tax revenues looked like before making these cuts?
Mayor Adams: First of all, I want to just be correct. With the Summer Rising program, the beauty is it’s not a restoration, we’re fully funding it. I just want to be clear on that.
Listen, Councilman Brannan, he has his role, we have our role. And what I need the council person to do is to make sure that we’re not sending the wrong message to New Yorkers that we’re manufacturing a crisis. He knows how difficult it is.
And we’re going to ask him to do more. Like we’re getting ready to announce the shelter that we’re going to have to open in his district because he doesn’t have any around this migrant and asylum seeker issue. And so we all have to do more. This is a crisis.
All the financial experts are saying, what is it going to cost us? The $7 billion cost tab is real. And so if anyone wants to continue to state that it’s not real, it’s manufactured, I find that surprising. And that sends the wrong message to Washington D.C.
We’ve been very consistent. These numbers have been analyzed. And let’s say you, someone has a $100 million difference. Okay, great. We still have a multibillion dollar crisis that we are facing. And you know, the council person, he knows that. And we’re going to continue to move forward.
And what the budget director has been doing, the uncertainty of this moment: the surge that comes, the surge that goes, the cost of housing, the cost of all of this. You know, you can’t just plan three years out. No one knew who was going to be here three years ago. You know, no one knew that we would be talking about this problem, you know, when we first did our first budget, you know, that we were going to be dealing with this. So the simplicity that he’s trying to attach to this does not match the complexity of what it is to govern during this time.
Question: On Summer Rising specifically, I know that in the November PEGs the hours from Monday through Thursday were shifted from ending at 6:00 p.m. to end at 4:00 and Fridays were axed. This is just for the middle school students, not the elementary. So, in this placing of city funds for the federal stimulus, will those hours be gained back for families?
Mayor Adams: Do you know those hours?
Chancellor Banks: That is certainly our expectation. This restoration of fully funding, it will allow us to be able to do it the way that we did it before. So that is… We’re still engaged in the planning process, and we always make adjustments anyway from year to year.
But certainly the goal is that it will allow us to put families in a position to have a maximum day, which includes the academic portion during the day. And then after school, being able to move kids all around the city to create a wide range of different experiences. And for many of those families who took advantage of the day being able to go to six o’clock, we still expect to be able to move in that direction.
Question: This is the third announcement of restorations in the past three or four days.
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Question: Isn’t it kind of disingenuous to stagger these announcements like this? Or, are you all literally waking up every day realizing you can restore more cuts? And then the second question is, if you add up all these restorations, how much money ballpark are we talking about versus that $7 billion…
Jiha: Less than $200 million.
Question: Say again?
Jiha: Less than $200 million.
Question: Less than $200 million.
Mayor Adams: No, it’s not that we are trying to stall. This is what the budget director has been doing. We are being briefed daily. We’re meeting, we’re continuing to make sure we’re making the right decisions based on the forecast, based on the numbers, based on all of the various outcomes that are feeding into these decisions.
And we want to be very specific on these announcements that we’re making. We’re being very, very well thought out, not using a butcher’s knife, but a scalpel, as we make these hard decisions. And that’s what he has been doing. And I cannot thank Jacques and his team for navigating these challenging times for us.
And we would love to attach simplicity to this. I kid you not. But when I was briefed by the chancellor the other day, I had no clue of the extent of how many programs were being funded by stimulus dollars until he sat down and did a complete briefing and he said, here’s the list of programs that stimulus dollars are running out. That we have to find funding.
And so this is… We are at a very complex, perfect storm. Stimulus dollars are running out, migrants and asylum seekers, solving our uniformed, solving our union contracts, tax receipts. You look at the complete picture that we are at, and it’s almost a perfect storm, and you better make some correct decisions, and that’s what this guy has been doing.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I know that chancellor just said he’s disappointed he can’t bring back certain stimulus cuts. He mentioned 3-K Pre-K. We just started enrollment for this year, that’s March 1st. It’s a stressful time for many parents with young ones, myself included. Are you still able to guarantee everyone applying for a slot will get a slot, which is what you said when you rolled out that cut, which was not received very well by many people?
Mayor Adams: Yes, and that’s our desire and now the desire must be actualized in what we have in front of us. And we want to continue to move towards that. But I must be clear with us. The dollars that paid for a permanent program were temporary dollars. We now have to see how can we pay for that program, and that’s on a list of things that the chancellor has presented to us.
There is not one program in the Department of Education that you state of which one we could lose because the stimulus dollars are gone that everyone is going to raise their hand and say, take that program. It just doesn’t exist. No matter what program you look at, that stimulus dollars were paying for that we’re no longer going to get, they’re going to be a pocket of people to say the urgency of having that program stay.
And we know that’s the reality. This is a very emotional issue, when it comes down to children and families. We know this is a hard decision, and we have to make the right decisions to navigate us through this.
JANUARY 12 2024 NEW YORK
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