New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a revised budget proposal earlier this month that cuts $150 million from the city’s day care and afterschool programs. These funding cuts will force 172 out-of-school-time programs, serving almost 25,000 elementary and middle school students, to close this fall.
Mayor Bloomberg’s initial budget proposal sent shockwaves through the education community earlier this spring. Parents and afterschool advocates launched the Campaign for Children in March to unify the voice of the hundreds of programs impacted by these massive proposed cuts. In the days since Mayor Bloomberg’s revised budget proposal was released on May 3, thousands of advocates and parents have participated in Lights Out New York rallies in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Upper Manhattan.
These proposed cuts set the stage for tense budget negotiations with the New York City Council, which is required by law to pass a budget before the 2013 fiscal year starts on July 1, 2012.
City Council members have responded with words of support for afterschool programs. City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Councilman Domenic M. Recchia Jr., chairman of the Finance Committee, held a May 3 news conference and said they were particularly worried about the proposed cuts to city-subsidized child care and afterschool programs. Council Speaker Quinn called the cuts “unacceptable,” the New York Times reports. The Campaign for Children organized a rally on the steps of City Hall before the news conference.
Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, criticized the proposal as “out of touch” with working families. “We should stop this phony budget dance,” he told the New York Times, “and stop treating workers as pawns in this annual charade.”
A May 4 New York Times editorial describes afterschool and child care programs “a lifeline for the working poor” and calls on Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council to restore funding and “do more for the city’s neediest children.”
The Campaign for Children is a partnership of the Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care and the NYC Youth Alliance. The Campaign has more than 150 partners. Join the Campaign for Children online, watch video from the rallies and learn ways you can help.
This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 5).
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