May 7, 2012
By Neal Tepel
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented his Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Executive Budget on May 3rd. While the Mayor outlined a projected balanced budget, the plan included devastating cuts to childcare and after school programs. The massive cuts to childcare and after school programs amount to an unprecedented 170 million. The city’s child-care and after-school programs have been reduced from 137,000 spots in 2009 to 94,000 in 2012. The Mayors executive budget further reduces capacity to 53,000. Quality childcare made available to hardworking New Yorkers is an investment in the city’s future. We need to ensure that these essential programs for young child expand not disappear. We simply cannot afford to shortchange the next generation.
To compound the reduction of funding for child care services, the city’s Early Learn RFP awards, further reduces capacity by 8,200 children. The RFP suffers from several structural flaws in addition to being under-funded. Adequate money must be provided to protect the existing number of child care slots. Funding for the city’s after school programs, Out-of-School-Time, have been cut nearly in half for Fiscal Year 2013 in comparison to FY ’12. OST and other after school programs such as Beacon Schools and the Cornerstone program are critical and must be fully funded.
Public Advocate Bill deBlasio blasted the mayor for refusing to invest the necessary resources in Head Start, universal pre-kindergarten and child care. “The disinvestment in childcare and after-school programs proposed by Mayor Bloomberg will hurt thousands of working families. For 47,000 vulnerable children, these cuts mean lost opportunities and a longer, harder road to the middle class. We know these programs work, and we know the social and economic costs of cutting them. Every dollar we invest in early education saves $13 in the long-run. The Mayor is handing down a hefty bill that will come due in future budgets and future generations. After four years of deep cuts, we simply cannot allow any further eroding of our City’s early childhood education system.”
NYC Council Speaker Chris Quinn stated that “I am deeply concerned about cuts to childcare programs. Two major programs, EarlyLearn and Out-of-School Time (OST), have suffered unacceptable cuts and are being implemented in ways that create tremendous disruptions for families, communities, and providers. The EarlyLearn program, as presently funded in this Executive Budget, reduces overall childcare capacity by 8,200 seats and cuts funding to areas of the City with significant high-needs populations. Many working families will no longer have access to low-cost, quality childcare. The Executive Budget also leaves 20 fire companies on the chopping block, needlessly endangering our city’s public safety.”
“Let me be clear – although I am grateful for the progress we’ve seen in the Mayor’s Executive Budget, I still have deep concerns about how the remaining cuts will impact the lives of working New Yorkers and their families,” concluded Speaker Quinn.