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United Federation of Teachers sues New York City over budget cuts

New York City teachers union sues Adams administration
New York City teachers union sues Adams administration 02:16

NEW YORK -- The United Federation of Teachers is suing New York City over budget cuts that may force schools to cut programs and staffing, arguing it's against the law. 

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the city's fiscal crisis is "fabricated" and making cuts to education will crush the school system. 

"We're here today announcing that we are suing the city of New York," said Mulgrew. 

On Thursday, the union announced legal action trying to stop the Adams administration from cutting up to $2 billion of education funding. 

"These cuts are based off of a fiscal crisis that we feel is completely fabricated at this point," said Mulgrew. "We are already seeing more overcrowded classrooms. We are seeing supply shortages. We are seeing children with special needs not getting their mandated services." 

The union said two provisions of state law that protect education funding from budget cuts provide legal ground for the lawsuit. 

Parent advocates supporting the union said the cuts would dramatically impact students with special needs. 

New York City budget cuts

"They're not getting the services, and this is before the budget cuts. So I can imagine what's going to happen after this actually does go through," said Erika Gonzalez, a Bronx parent advocate.

"Schools might have to dip into their budget to pay paraprofessionals, who are teaching assistants who work often one-on-one with students with significant needs. And what we've heard repeatedly is that there's already a very severe shortage of paraprofessional and this could make it worse," said Michael Elsen-Rooney, with Chalkbeat New York. 

Thursday at City Hall, less than half a mile away from where the teachers union announced the lawsuit, Mayor Eric Adams touted his administration's progress for the working class. 

"We have turned things around," said Adams. 

"How could you say you're out there for the working class of the city when you're taking away the central support system, which is cutting the school system?" said Mulgrew. "I guess he's tone-deaf. I don't know." 

"Some of our parents are even raising the money themselves to support our schools," said Mari Moss, chair of school leadership at PS 175. 

Adams did not comment on the lawsuit specifically. When asked about it, he said sometimes friends disagree and sometimes they end up in court. 

Our education partners at Chalkbeat New York have more information on what the proposed budget cuts would look in District 75 and across the city on their website. 

Meanwhile, a coalition of parents, teachers and residents rallied Thursday morning in Fort Greene, Brooklyn for the city to reverse cuts to the budget for school crossing guards. 

The group met at the corner of North Portland and Myrtle Avenues, where 7-year-old Kamari Hughes was struck and killed by an NYPD tow truck driver in October.

Hughes was hit while walking to school and there was no crossing guard at the intersection. 

"It's about time that we stop cutting and investing in our communities. And if that means more crossing guards to protect our children on their way to school, to protect parents on their way to work, that's what we need and that's what we deserve," a woman said at the rally. 

The city did not immediately respond to the group's calls. 

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