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150 Organizations Call on Elected Leaders to Save Key Education Programs

thumbnail image of first page of call to action09.21.2023 | Today, more than 150 organizations are calling on elected leaders to sustain critical education programs currently supported by temporary federal COVID-19 stimulus funding set to run dry in June 2024.

Over the last few years, New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) has benefitted from billions of dollars in federal stimulus funding. NYCPS has used this funding not only to address temporary pandemic-related challenges, but also to stave off cuts to existing initiatives and to launch and expand a range of essential programs to meet needs that existed long before the pandemic and will remain long after the federal COVID-19 relief funds expire. For example, this year federal dollars are being used for 3-K, preschool special education, Summer Rising, 450 school social workers, school nurses, community schools, restorative justice, 60 school psychologists, 75 coordinators working in homeless shelters, bilingual staff, translation and interpretation, and dyslexia and literacy initiatives.

Federal funding expires next year and there is not yet a plan to sustain these critical programs and supports; defunding them would disproportionately hurt students from low-income families, students of color, and the students with the greatest needs. The threat to these programs existed even before Mayor Adams’ recent announcement of a 14% cut to each agency, including NYCPS.

The call-to-action notes the urgency of the situation: “We are at a critical juncture. Our elected leaders must choose between allowing these programs to end on their watch—dealing a massive setback to public education—or taking action to identify new funding sources so students can continue receiving critical supports and services. We are counting on our elected leaders to sustain essential education programs and build on the progress made, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of students for years to come.”

The organizations—which include civil rights organizations, social service providers, early childhood programs, advocacy organizations, and groups representing students, parents, and educators—are launching a campaign calling on elected leaders to save these programs.

Read the call-to-action [PDF]
View the press release as a PDF