Daily News: City backing off cuts to summer programs for middle-school students
BY Erin Durkin
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, May 28, 2015, 8:21 PM
The city will be backing off of cuts to optional programs for middle-school students. Before the announcement Thursday, City Council members had grilled Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña (pictured) on the decision to yank the funding after many kids had already been told they had spots.
The city backed off on cuts to summer programs for thousands of middle-school students after getting slammed for quietly axing the seats.
Officials will fund 34,000 summer program seats – including 17,000 that would have been scrapped under Mayor de Blasio’s budget proposal, a spokeswoman for the mayor said Thursday.
“After hearing from parents and kids, we’re pleased to announce that the administration will fund the full 34,000 middle-school seats for this upcoming summer, for this year only — so that families and providers are not left hanging,” said spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick.
Before the announcement Thursday, City Council members had grilled Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on the decision to yank the funding after many kids had already been told they had spots.
The mayor’s budget would have sent the $27.7 million to struggling schools in the “renewal schools” program.
“It’s totally creating havoc in many families’ lives, and it’s incredibly frustrating for us on the Council,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, chair of the Finance Committee.“We were supposed to be eliminating the budget dance.”
The so-called budget dance is a long-derided process under previous mayors where the mayor’s office would threaten to cut programs which were then restored in negotiations with the Council. De Blasio vowed to end it.
The mayor’s office said they had always intended to fund an expanded 34,000-seat tutoring and extracurricular program last summer for one year only, and called it an error that non-profits were informed they would get cash for larger programs this year too.
But after protests, they agreed to a one-year extension.