District 22 schools fear budget cuts

If city and state politicians approve another school budget cut, there may be a “lasting impact” on District 22 schools.

“It looks like there’s going to be another round. I was at Governor [David] Paterson’s town hall meeting on Monday and heard him say education is going to take at least another billion dollar cut. That’s not going to help us at all,” said Christopher Spinelli, president of the Community Education Council (CEC) in District 22, which spans Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and parts of Midwood, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay.

“It’s going to have lasting impact,” he added. “I can only assume that class size, at some point, is going to go up because schools are going to have to let go of teachers. After programs, the next thing that’s going to go is teachers.”

He’s referring to art, music and after-school programs, which have already been limited due to previous budget cuts.

“Once again, it’s outrageous that cuts and reductions are made to a district that is already severely underfunded,” asserted Michael Benjamin, first vice president of District 22’s CEC. “While basic education, I believe, will remain fundamentally strong, the greatest risk comes to the art, music and dance programs, which are so vital in rounding out the education that our children receive.”

“Those programs are so important because they complete the child,” he added.

“It’s those activities that nurture the soul and help children grow into well-rounded adults.”

If the state’s proposed $1 billion cut in school funding is approved, each New York City school district would reportedly lose about five percent of its funding, for a total of nearly $500 million.

“The proposed budget would cut $11,677 from classrooms across this state,” said Zakiyah Ansari, a mother of District 22 students and a member of the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE).

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