Originally published in Issue 13 - September 1, 1997

City and State Budgets for Fiscal 1998: The Impact on City Schools

The Chancellor’s Budget Request for 1997-98, released in March 1997, detailed BOE funding needs for the upcoming school year. In essence, the Chancellor requested a total of $914.6 million (above and beyond what had been proposed in the November Plan and Preliminary Budget for fiscal year 1998), $331.4 million of which was for the purpose of making up the for the projected shortfall in funding for basic services during the 1997-98 school year. The balance of the $914.6 million in requested funding consisted of items on the Chancellor’s “wish list” of potential new services the Board would like to provide during the upcoming school year.

Now that the City and State have adopted their respective budgets for fiscal 1998, BOE’s funding for the 1997-98 school year has largely been determined. With respect to the Chancellor’s request for $914.6 million in additional funding, $715.1 million has been funded. The City provided $448.1 million and the State provided $267 million. Of the State funds, $174.7 million can be used at the discretion of BOE.

BOE will utilize $124.7 million of its discretionary State funds to close its projected basic services shortfall, with the bulk ($40.7 million) of the remainder being utilized for the Chancellor’s “standards and assessment” initiative. This initiative is aimed at meeting tougher graduation requirements under State Regents standards, reducing class size at the high school level, and supporting vocational programming for 11th and 12th graders. Such funds will be spent at the discretion of high school superintendents, provided that schools can guarantee each high school student a full academic schedule.

Major unfunded initiatives include a $62 million restructuring for special education and $52 million for class size reductions in the early grades. These initiatives will either begin at a reduced level with BOE funding from unspecified sources, be deferred to a future year, or be re-evaluated.