June 1, 2011
By Kismet Barksdale
As the June 30 deadline for Mayor Bloomberg’s Executive Budget nears, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer held a town hall meeting June 25, 2011 to give New Yorkers an opportunity to voice their concerns about the administration’s proposed cuts to child care.
“New York must never balance its budget on the backs of children and family, but that’s exactly what these daycare reductions accomplish,” said Borough President Stringer. “Despite the Mayor’s restorations, the child care system at large is still under siege, with more than 14,000 child care slots lost in the last four years, and 7,000 fewer children from low-income families able to access care next year. New Yorkers deserve more than a half a loaf response from City Hall on an issue that impacts our most vulnerable constituents and their children.”
“Troubling questions remain about the nature of these budget restorations,” Stringer continued. “How does the City plan to fully fund a $91 million program using $40 million? As the early childhood safety net for low income New Yorkers is dismantled by year to year cuts, what is the City’s long term plan to preserve early care and education services for its neediest citizens?”
New York City Council Member Annabel Palma said, “While Mayor Bloomberg has often spoken of making early childhood education the highest priority of his administration, his actions have not kept pace with his rhetoric and New York City’s children are now facing an unprecedented crisis,” said Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the Council’s Committee on General Welfare. “The Mayor’s current proposals to reform the subsidized child care system threaten to reduce the capacity of the overall system, as well as the quality of the services provided. These changes, along with proposals to lay off thousands of teachers, signal a full-scale assault on our City’s education system and place the future of our children and City at risk.”
“The Mayor has proposed to cut subsidies for early education programs which provide childcare subsidies for 47,887 children citywide. These outrageous cuts will be piled on top of the 14,000 child care slots already lost since 2006 as a result of City budget cuts,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Under the Mayor’s proposal, an estimated 7,000 families will lose their daycare subsidy in September, and this number could balloon to as many as 17,000 families. Not only will cutting these programs rob children living in low and middle income homes of early childhood services in center based programs, regulated home based programs and informal settings, but thousands of home care providers will be put out of business. These programs are a lifeline to many low-income, working families. Without these programs many parents would be forced to quit their jobs and go on public assistance”.
There is general agreement by legislators, parents and community leaders that cutting these childcare services will create two separate and distinct educational systems, one for the rich who can afford to send their children to private early education programs and one for the poor, that cannot.