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DOE school squeeze play - Funding being cut from your kid’s education

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Schools in Canarsie and Flatbush will lose thousands of dollars this September.

That’s because of additional funding cuts the city is implementing in spite of a funding increase from the state and a reported $6.5 billion surplus in the city.

“Schools are going to get a reduction from 1.4 up to six percent,” Rubain Dorancy of the city Department of Education’s (DOE) Integrated Service Center explained at last week’s meeting of District 18’s Community Education Council (CEC).

In District 18, which spans Canarsie and Flatbush, schools will lose between $35,000 and $220,000, said Sharron Lindo, the CEC’s treasurer.

I.S. 252, located at 1084 Lenox Road, is slated to lose $35,000, Lindo said.

“That cut hurts the school,” she said. “It’s hurting me to see the children try to get an education and it’s hard for them to get one.”

“[I.S.] 232’s budget was cut 1.4 percent,” said Ingrid Thomas-Clark, principal of the Winthrop Street school.

Discussing the tighter budget with a DOE official, Thomas-Clark recalled saying, “It seems like it’s going to be harder than I thought. And she said, ‘You’re right.’”

The DOE says the cuts are necessary because of a projected economic downturn but parents say cutting money from Brooklyn schools will lead to increased class size and fewer after-school programs.

“Yes, it is a cut,” asserted Valerie Armstrong Barrows, a member of the Citywide Council on High Schools (CCHS), a parents’ advocacy group.

Barrows was particularly concerned about how small schools would handle the cut since they often operate on limited resources and small administrative staffs.

“How is that equitable for them?” she said.

As a result of the budget cuts, local schools and the CEC, which advocates for schools in Canarsie and Flatbush, are applying for grants in hope of securing extra cash.

“We have a district that is in need. We need services, we need money. We’re pursuing [money] through community-based organizati­ons,” said CEC President James Dandridge. “We’re soliciting more money for our children…because we feel that we are being shortchang­ed.”

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