School Budget Picture Evolving

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What will the budget for city schools look like next year? A new report by the Independent Budget Office on Thursday said the schools may have to take a hit to make up for an estimated $203 million in rising costs elsewhere in the Education Department budget, Anna M. Phillips reported on SchoolBook.

That figure was higher than the $64 million that the city has said will affect how much it can dole out to the schools.

But Department of Education officials continue to say, no matter the figure, not to worry. Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said Tuesday at a City Council hearing on the preliminary budget that he intended to protect schools from cuts and planned to keep the schools' budgets stable. That would mean principals -- who control their own budgets in New York City -- can avoid more of the painful cuts of this school year and maintain a similar level of service and staffing.

If this promise holds up, it will still most likely mean lean times for schools, which will have to cover rising costs with the same amount of money as in this school year. And some principals may resort to some reductions in staffing. But over all, there will be no layoffs or sweeping cuts, the Education Department maintains.

"As the chancellor testified on Tuesday, we do not foresee reductions to school budgets or systemwide layoffs at this time,” Barbara Morgan, a Department of Education spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail to SchoolBook.

Of course, this is the preliminary budget; it was proposed by the mayor back in January and is now before the City Council for its further shaping and ultimate approval. The Council may have some different priorities. And important figures were missing, like a realistic estimate of the costs of opening new charter schools and the state's aid.

But even that latter figure came into focus on Thursday, Gotham Schools reports, when the state "released details about how much each school district will receive under the budget approved earlier this week. New York City schools will get $7.92 billion, up from $7.84 billion in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s preliminary budget." And that's good news for city schools.

Condolences to Stuyvesant High School students, who proved their smartness this week by mounting a campaign to try to get Jeremy Lin, the Knicks star, to be their graduation speaker. Unfortunately, as The Daily News reports on Friday, Mr. Lin graciously begged off.

Lin tweeted his thanks Thursday to the prestigious school’s students for their video begging him to speak at commencement.

“Stuyvesant High! Awesome honored to have been invited,” Lin wrote on Twitter.

And while the NBA star said he won’t be there to see the teens don caps and gowns, he said he might stop by the Manhattan school at some point.

And he promised to make a video in response to their YouTube hit.

“I cant make it BUT im making a response video and will visit if possible!” wrote Lin from his @jlin7 Twitter handle.

Can someone at Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences in Brooklyn respond to this query from a parent:

If someone out there would be so kind as to give me a more detailed "pros-cons" review on this school. All the reviews that I have found are somewhat outdated & brief! I am planning on enrolling my child in September, and all info from someone who has recently attended or a parent would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Gotham Schools' Rise & Shine post has a more complete roundup of what's in the news this Friday morning.

Here's some of what's going on this Friday and over the weekend:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will be on hand Friday to kick off the NYC Mayor's Cup All-Star Basketball Games. The top players in the city will meet at City College's Nat Holman Gym, starting with the girls at 5 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. "A limited number of tickets will be distributed at the door free of charge." Learn more at

Two co-located schools in Flatbush, Brooklyn, will prove that we can all get along with a joint event. Fahari Academy Charter School and Middle School 246 Walt Whitman have organized a "Pathways to College" panel discussion for their sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to help them start their journey to college. According to a news release: "Professor Bildade Augustin will moderate a panel of representatives from the CUNY higher education system, Medgar Evars College, A Better Chance, and Prep for Prep to tell nearly 200 students how they can begin to prepare themselves for acceptance into a four-year college or university now." The event starts at 1:15 p.m. at the school, 72 Veronica Place.

On Friday night, from 6 to 9 p.m., Public School 20 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, will hold a silent auction to raise money to help support music, science and art programming at the school. The event takes place at the stately Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 South Oxford Street at Lafayette Avenue. More information can be found at

And here's a fun event on Saturday: The Bronx High School of Science's prestigious chess, robotics and debate teams are hosting other city students "for a day of fun and competition." The matchups will take place all day. The event is sponsored by the Bronx Science Alumni Association, Bronx Science Parents Association, New York State Debate Coaches Association and Chess in the Schools, and more information can be found at