New York City’s teachers union sues Mayor Eric Adams over steep cuts to public schools

Dec 21, 2023, 1:07 PM | Updated: 1:24 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s teachers union is suing to block planned cuts to the city’s public schools, warning that steep budget reductions proposed by Mayor Eric Adams would weaken key education initiatives and violate state law.

For months, Adams has argued that slashing city spending – including a $550 million cut in education funding – is necessary to offset the rising costs of New York’s migrant crisis. But in a lawsuit filed in state court on Thursday, the United Federation of Teachers accused the mayor of exaggerating the city’s fiscal woes in order to push through a “blunt austerity measure” that is both illegal and unnecessary.

The lawsuit rests on a state law that prevents New York City from reducing school spending unless overall revenues decline. Because the city outperformed revenue expectations this fiscal year, the mid-year education cuts – which will hurt universal prekindergarten and after-school programs, as well as special needs students – are illegal, the suit alleges.

“This is going to become difficult and ugly,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said at a news conference on Thursday. “We have never had an administration try to cut their schools when they have historic reserves and their revenues are all up.”

Adams, a moderate Democrat, has faced growing fallout over a multibillion dollar budget cut announced last month that will slash hours at public libraries, eliminate parks and sanitation programs and freeze police hiring, among other cutbacks in municipal services.

Since then, he has seen his poll numbers drop to the lowest point since taking office nearly two years ago. He is currently facing a separate lawsuit from the city’s largest public sector union, DC 37, aimed at stopping the cuts.

At a news conference on Thursday, Adams sought to downplay the lawsuits, touting his close relationship with the two politically influential unions.

“From time to time, friends disagree,” Adams said. “Sometimes it ends up in a boardroom and sometimes it ends up in a courtroom.”

While he has acknowledged the cuts will be “extremely painful to New Yorkers,” Adams has urged city residents to hold the White House accountable for not sending sufficient aid to address the migrant crisis. And he has warned even deeper cuts may be needed to address the budget shortfall, which he projects will hit $7 billion in the coming fiscal year.

A recent analysis from the Independent Budget Office, meanwhile, appears to bolster the unions’ contention that the city’s fiscal crisis is not as dire as the mayor has made it out to be. According to the agency, the city will end the fiscal year in June with a budget surplus of $3.6 billion, leading to a far more manageable budget gap next year of $1.8 billion.

In the lawsuit, the teachers union cites the estimate as proof that Adams’ “calculatingly foreboding” picture of New York City’s finances is not based in reality.

“The Mayor’s recent actions,” the suit alleges, “are driven more by a ‘crisis’ of budget management, leadership and problem solving, as opposed to an influx of migrants to New York.”

United States News

Associated Press

New Jersey man acquitted in retrial in 2014 beating death of college student from Tennessee

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man has been acquitted in a retrial in the beating death of a college student from Tennessee a decade ago. Jurors in Middlesex County deliberated for five hours before acquitting Timothy Puskas of all charges Wednesday in the 2014 death of 22-year-old former Rutgers student William McCaw […]

3 hours ago

Liam Lazo boards a diesel school bus near his home, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Virginia Beach, Va. D...

Associated Press

Tired of diesel fumes, these moms are pushing for electric school buses

Areli Sanchez’s daughter, Aida, used to be one of 20 million American kids who ride a diesel bus to school each day. Aida has asthma. When she was little, she complained about the smell and cloud of fumes on her twice-daily trip. “When she would come home from school or be on the bus, she […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Warren Buffett tells investors to ignore Wall Street pundits while paying tribute to Charlie Munger

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett credited his longtime partner — the late Charlie Munger — with being the architect of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate he’s received the credit for leading and warned shareholders in his annual letter not to listen to Wall Street pundits or financial advisors who urge them to trade often. Buffett […]

5 hours ago

FILE -Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rig...

Associated Press

Alabama IVF ruling puts spotlight on state plans for tax breaks and child support for fetuses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are legally protected children is highlighting how support for the idea that a fetus should have the same rights as a person underpins far less dramatic laws and proposals from abortion foes across the U.S. Lawmakers in at least six states have […]

13 hours ago

This image provided by Tyler Watts shows Florida Man Games competitors, from left, Joshua Barr, Mic...

Associated Press

At the Florida Man Games, tank-topped teams compete at evading police, wrestling over beer

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) — They rose up by the dozens from across Florida, caricatured competitors in tank tops and cutoff shorts, for a showdown that treats evading police and wrestling over beer like Olympic sports. Promoted as “the most insane athletic showdown on Earth,” the Florida Man Games poke fun at the state’s reputation […]

13 hours ago

Andie Nelson, right, embraces Brian Jaskot, both of Virginia, after their race during the 25 meter ...

Associated Press

‘Totally cold’ is not too cold for winter swimmers competing in a frozen Vermont lake

NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) — Plunging into a frozen lake and swimming laps may not be everyone’s good time but for winter swimmers who return year after year to a northern Vermont lake near the Canadian border, there’s nothing better. The 10th annual Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival kicked off Friday with the 200-meter (218-yard) freestyle race […]

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

New York City’s teachers union sues Mayor Eric Adams over steep cuts to public schools