BY JOE MARVILLI
Hundreds of students gathered outside Benjamin N. Cardozo High School to rally against cuts enacted by the Dept. of Education.
Cardozo is facing a $400,000 cut to its budget, resulting in the loss of some Advanced Placement courses and the limiting of electives like physical education. As a result of these sudden drawbacks, students flocked onto the school green, holding makeshift signs and shouting in protest loud enough to be heard two blocks over.
The event happened just one day after principal Gerald Martori sent a letter to parents on Oct. 1, informing them about the financial situation. In the letter, he said that Advanced Placement courses that were taught in a double period will instead be conducted in a “blended learning model” with the second period devoted to student research, problem solving and portfolio development.
“I assure you that these necessary adjustments will not impact on our students’ ability to meet New York State’s graduation requirements and college and career readiness,” the letter said.
Many of the students disagreed.
“We’re definitely an underdog and we’re trying to survive. We want to hold our high academic standards,” Tom Dinegar, a senior and the student government president who also planned the rally, said. “These changes not only impact our ability to expand our fields of knowledge but also obstruct our path to college and universities as well just furthering our knowledge into our fields of interest,” Chase Lin, a junior and one of the rally’s organizers, said in a statement.
Throughout the protest, students screamed statements like “Save our schools!” and “Fund Cardozo!”
Some teachers were on hand to protest the cuts as well.
One teacher who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retribution said, “For a Mayor that tries to make a very strong case about how he’s supporting education, this seems to fly in the face of that. Here are kids that are dying to have an education and this money doesn’t seem to be there.”
In response, the DOE said the change in budget would not strongly affect AP classes and that the cuts were partially because Cardozo is 15 students below its enrollment projections.
“School budgets fluctuate annually based on the number of registered students,” Marcus Lim, deputy press secretary for the DOE, said. “We are working closely with Principal Martori to make sure that the school’s programming is aligned with their budget and continues to focus on providing rigorous courses to prepare our students for college and careers.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.