Daily News: EXCLUSIVE: Politicians push de Blasio for $62M in summer programs for NYC kids
Don’t ditch the kiddos this summer, dozens of City Council members are begging Mayor de Blasio.
Forty-two Council members have signed a letter urging de Blasio to cough up cash for optional summer programs serving thousands of city kids, the Daily News has learned.
The free summer programs to provide students with tutoring were funded last year as part of de Blasio’s after-school offerings for middle schoolers called School’s Out New York City, which runs in more than 560 schools. Other summer youth employment programs were funded separately.
De Blasio warned that the funding was for one year only, and excluded the programs from his executive budget this month.
Now the majority of the Big Apple’s 51-member City Council wants him to reconsider.
“All children deserve to have a safe place to learn this summer,” states the letter delivered to de Blasio on Monday.
“This crucial funding must be restored immediately.”
About 34,000 middle school kids will miss out on useful summer activities because of the cuts, according to the letter.
The letter also calls on de Blasio to increase funding for a program that provides summer jobs for city school kids, which has 137,000 applicants for 35,000 slots.
It would cost the city $20.3 million to fund the summer enrichment programs and another $41.8 million to increase the number of summer jobs slots to 60,000.
Councilman Mathieu Eugene, who wrote the letter, said young people should be a priority in the city budget.
“The best way to invest in the future of our city is by investing in youth programs,” said Eugene (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the Council’s Youth Services Committee.
“If there aren’t positive alternatives available for our youth, how can we blame them if they make negative choices?” Eugene asked.
City Hall spokesman Austin Finan said the de Blasio administration has funded several new programs for middle school kids, including after-school programs that now enroll nearly 111,000 students, up from 44,000 when de Blasio took office.
“As announced in May 2015, last year’s additional seats for summer programming were for one year only,” Finan said.
“We gave parents and providers a year’s notice to plan ahead for this summer,” he said.