The Education Department is making about $150 million available to schools to help them fund teacher positions — the latest twist in the battle over budget cuts due to lower enrollment, NY1 has learned.

In an email to principals Tuesday night, Deputy Chancellor Dan Weisberg announced that the city would allow schools to repurpose $100 million in stimulus funding that had previously been allocated to schools for “Academic Recovery.” In addition to academic recovery, which can often mean services like tutoring, schools can now use that money to “fund teacher positions.” 

The city will also release what’s called “appeals funding,” money given to schools which appeal their budgets. According to Weisberg’s note, that money is going to “schools which are unable to provide mandated services based on a thorough review of the appeals already submitted.”

The appeals funding will amount to $50 million, with $34 million of it going out today, according to the DOE.

The funding shift comes amid a fight over cuts to school budgets — $215 million of which were outlined in the city’s preliminary budget as early as February. Those cuts raised little ire until after the city budget was passed, and individual schools got their own budgets, which sometime sharply declined. Lower school budgets mean schools can afford to pay fewer teachers, which can result in larger class sizes or the loss of programs like art or music that specific teachers ran, if those teachers are among the staff being “excessed.”

In June, Mayor Adams’ administration and the City Council were negotiating a deal to free up $250 million in funding for schools who had seen their budgets cut, by moving the money from elsewhere in school budgets. But that deal hit an impasse when the Adams administration asked the Council to agree that cuts would be needed in the future if enrollment doesn’t recover.

Then, the talks went on hold pending a lawsuit brought by parents, who argued the city had not followed state education law in passing the budget, because they didn’t seek a vote by the Panel for Educational Policy before the final Council vote on the budget.

A judge in that suit has issued a temporary restraining order barring the city from making any further cuts, and requiring them to spend at the previous year’s level — something the city has argued in appeals is impossible, saying they can’t spend money they haven’t been allocated. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning in that case.