YONKERS, NY — June 8, 2018 — Dire news communicated for months by Yonkers Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Edwin M. Quezada may come to fruition at the May 16, 2018 Board of Education Meeting.
“What costs the District $592 million this year (2017-2018) will cost us $623 million in 2018-2019,” stated Dr. Quezada. The District faces a $45.3 million dollar budget gap, created by increased expenditures for employee salaries and benefits, and the rising cost of utilities, facilities, transportation and tuitions, as well as required increases for the growing number of Special Education and English as a New Language
“As of this date, there are insufficient revenue from federal, state and city sources. The anticipated District revenue for 2018-2019 is expected to be $580.7 million,” noted Dr. Quezada. “Our fiscal struggle for sustained recurring revenues will persist based on what we know today. The annual gap could persistently be $45 million or more, and the only option will be more employee layoffs.
This is unconscionable, irresponsible and unjust; we cannot sacrifice the future education of 27,000 children who do achieve some of the highest educational results despite this impediment.” The evidence is in the data; Yonkers Public Schools is the first large city school district in New York State to graduate over 80% of its students on time, 86% graduation rate for the Cohort 2013 Class of 2017. The graduation rate surpasses the New York State average. “The achievement of our graduates is the result of a solid teaching and learning foundation that begins in the elementary schools and is fostered through high school graduation, delivered by highly qualified administrators, teachers and staff,” extolled Dr. Quezada.
Therefore, for Dr. Quezada to meet his fiduciary responsibility, he will present the Board of Education Trustees a proposed balanced budget for the fiscal 2018-2019 school year that will lay off 251 positions, reduce programs and eliminate the District’s entire unassigned fund balance.
In earlier presentations to the state, city, Trustees and the community, Dr. Quezada provided suggested reductions comprised of $24 million from the District’s Unassigned Fund Balance, $16.3 million that eliminates 211 positions and reduces programs, and $5 million was noted as an unresolved gap.
The proposed balanced budget being presented to the Trustees reduces $21.3 million to abolish 251 positions and reduce programs, and uses $24 million from the District’s Unassigned Fund Balance.
The Trustees must approve the abolishment of 251 positions at the May Stated Meeting to actualize the abolished positions by July 1, 2018.
“Throughout this budget process, I have been transparent and accountable to the extraordinary needs of our students and what is required to provide their continual academic, social and emotional growth,” said Quezada. “Yonkers Public Schools remains relentless in our fight for equity. Our students cannot be deprived a sound basic education because the Yonkers Public Schools does not receive sustained recurring venue.”
Sent on behalf of Jerilynne Fierstein, Yonkers Public Schools Information Officer.