NY Post: De Blasio reverses decision to cut after-school program funds
By Aaron Short
May 29, 2015 | 1:21am
The de Blasio administration is backing off its plan to slash funding for middle-school summer programs following an uproar from parents and educators.
“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,” mayoral spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said Thursday.
The Post reported two weeks ago that the administration reserved $27.7 million in February for more after-school programs this summer. But earlier this month, the money was yanked, even though many schools had already hired staff and enrolled students.
The administration shifted the funds to a larger, $50 million initiative to improve 130 struggling schools and called the previous notification to parents an “error.”
Stunned school officials estimated that 17,000 primarily low-income children throughout the city would not have access to free summer programs as a result.
City Council members grilled Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña at a hearing Thursday and charged she was “creating havoc” for families that had already made plans to send their kids to the programs that faced elimination.
“We have to be clear from this council that is not what we stand for and we don’t want to negotiate in this fashion,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Queens). “This is incredibly frustrating. We are not happy. That’s an understatement.”
Fariña promised she was “revisiting the cuts in the after-schools. . . and I think you’ll see a resolution soon.” That resolution came a mere six hours later.