The Academy Gazette

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The Academy Gazette

The Academy Gazette

Cuts to the DOE frighten Academy staff

Disclaimer: the proposed budget cuts have since been rejected and will not be carried out.

In response to the encumbering financial cost of the ongoing migrant crisis in New York City, on November 16, 2023, Mayor Adams announced budget cuts across the board, including a nearly 550 million dollar cut to the Department of Education. Though these cuts have since been reversed, the Academy of American Studies, a public school that is funded by the DOE, and its staff became unnerved and alarmed by the announcement.

One teacher, Amy Weidner, who teaches Advanced Placement English Language and Composition and is a Co-Advisor of the Honor Society at Academy, shared her concerns about a diminished DOE budget and how its effects on substitute teachers would impact everyone.

“[With less substitute teachers,] there might be more teachers doing coverages in their prep periods rather than relying on full-time subs, which puts more burden on teachers…If I’m covering a class, then I’m not preparing lessons during that time,” Weidner stated. With teachers having less time dedicated to students, students’ education may suffer as a byproduct of the DOE budget cuts thinning the number of substitute teachers.

Franchesca Tsatsakos, an English teacher at Academy for 21 years, elaborated on this idea. “Teachers are to be compensated for Regents tutoring we’re doing outside of a class… If there’s no money to compensate for that then – boom – there goes that,” said Tsatsakos. Less compensation for teachers performing Regents tutoring indicates that either teachers would do Regents tutoring for low to no pay at certain points or Regents tutoring will have to be severely cut, placing a strain on both teachers and students.

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These sentiments were further shared by other educators at Academy. Anna Mantagas, Special Education Arts teacher and English Language Learner coordinator at Academy, fears budget cuts would harm her and her family. 

“One of the main cuts I heard about is the cut in 3-K programs, and that’s where my daughter has to go next year… if my child can’t go to the 3-K that I would prefer, it will impact me and my job as a teacher,” stressed Mantagas. Being both a teacher and a parent, Mantagas is worried about budget cuts potentially causing a situation where she will have to take care of her daughter while upholding her responsibilities as a teacher, threatening to harm her abilities as an educator.

And it appears that numerous other teachers in NYC also opposed the decision to cut the DOE’s budget as on December 21, 2023, the United Federation of Teachers sued the Adams administration, alleging that his budget cuts were illegal because NYC’s revenue went up this year.

Despite the anxiety and uneasiness brought upon by the announced budget cuts to the DOE, the root issue of overpopulation and straining limited resources is not being treated, which was only exacerbated by an influx in migration to New York City. To resolve the affair, either more aid from sources like the federal government is required or interstate migration needs to be further regulated.

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