Mayor Eric Adams proposed budget cuts to the city’s public schools, and his chancellor David Banks tried to do an end-run around the city’s Panel on Education Policy (the Board of Education) by declaring an “emergency.” Two parents and two teachers sued to block the budget cuts, based on the flawed process, and won in court.

A Manhattan judge ruled Friday to throw out the New York City education department’s budget and allow the City Council and Mayor Eric Adams to reconsider how to fund schools this year. 

Judge Lyle Frank ruled in favor of two teachers and two parents who filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court last month, claiming that the city violated state law when it approved the education department’s budget for this fiscal year.

The extraordinary ruling means that until the City Council revisits the budget, New York City must fund schools at the same levels it did last fiscal year. The city plans to appeal.

Like several of his predecessors, Schools Chancellor David Banks had used an “emergency declaration” to circumvent a vote on it by the Panel for Education Policy, a largely mayoral appointed board that approves spending and contracts.

Principals have been busy laying off staff in anticipation of the cuts. Now those layoffs are on hold.

Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters (and a member of the board of the Network for Public Education) has been deeply involved in fighting the budget cuts.