Mayor Mike Spano warned that the so-called sequester cuts would cost the Yonkers Public Schools $1.5 million in federal aid, an 8.2 percent reduction, for things like teacher training, bilingual programs and special education.
Budget pressures have forced the city schools to cut hundreds of jobs in recent years, even as enrollment swells.
“Currently, student-to-staff ratios are growing to almost unmanageable numbers, and cutting nine more positions would be devastating to the students of Yonkers,” the mayor said in a statement today.
Spano said he urged U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand along with U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel of the Bronx “to take action in preventing the cuts” in a letter this week.
President Barack Obama blamed GOP lawmakers Friday for failing to stop automatic spending cuts that were to begin kicking in later today, while Republicans said the fault was Obama’s for insisting that increased taxes be part of the resolution, the Associated Press reported.
Congress still has the power to stop the cuts, but if federal lawmakers cannot reach a deal, federally-backed education and law enforcement, among numerous other programs, face a 9 percent reduction.
Spano said he’s worried the potential cuts would also take away much-needed Superstorm Sandy recovery aid, forcing his cash-strapped city to shoulder more costs.
And he said the federal cuts threaten to eliminate Yonkers public safety jobs and funding for the city’s Workforce Investment Board.
The city of Yonkers and its public schools face a combined $86 million budget shortfall next fiscal year, the mayor said.