Last night, the Panel for Educational Policy approved the chancellor’s proposed schools budget, with only the fearless Patrick Sullivan, the Manhattan borough president’s appointee, voting against it. A handful of other representatives — none, of course, from the majority appointed by the chancellor — read prepared statements about how bad the budget cuts are, but when it came time to vote, they backed up the budget, which cuts money from all schools, especially those that are high-performing, and also earmarks a tremendous amount of money for testing programs, incentive programs that are transitioning onto the public dollar, and charter schools. But how could all but the most courageous PEP member vote against the budget? In the past, when PEP members opposed the chancellor’s wishes, he simply replaced them on the panel.
The PEP’s vote is required, but it isn’t the one that matters. The City Council must approve the budget before it goes into effect. And all but one City Council member has sworn to vote against the budget unless the cuts to the schools are reversed. The Council has until the end of this week to vote on the municipal budget.