Chalkbeat NY reports that Mayor Eric Adams (whose campaign was heavily funded by charter-loving billionaires) intends to cut $960 million from the budget for the city’s public schools.

The city’s education department budget would drop by nearly $960 million next school year under a more detailed budget proposal released by Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday, though city officials did not offer specifics about the impact on individual campuses.

Two-thirds of that cut, or $652 million, is the result of Adams’ decision to reduce the city’s contribution to the education department. Another $297 million is from a drop in federal funding, which is drying up as pandemic relief programs end.

Part of the city’s cut is tied to a mandate from the mayor earlier this month calling on city agencies to cut spending, including at the education department. That raised questions about whether schools would take a hit, but on Wednesday, Adams vowed that this specific cost-saving measure “will not take a dime from classrooms.”

Instead, that reduction — totaling $325 million — will largely come from recalculations on how much the city spends in fringe benefits, such as health insurance for teachers. (Officials emphasized this would not result in a loss of benefits or other services.)

“We had to make tough choices in this budget,” Adams said Wednesday. “We had to negotiate competing needs. We realize that not everyone will be happy but that is okay because that is how you get stuff done.”

The education department’s operating budget would total about $30.5 billion next year under the mayor’s plan, down by about 3%.

Note that a large part of the savings will be funded by changes (cuts) in teachers’ health insurance.

Since the city will soon have to comply with a state law requiring class size reduction, it’s not clear how the city will pay for the additional costs of smaller classes. It is a very valuable reform, but it’s costly.

The city will also bear the cost of 14 new charters. Currently the 275 charters in the city are a heavy expense, since the city must pay their rent, even if they locate in private space. In some cases, such as Success Academy, the charter owns the space and still charges the city exorbitant rent.