NY1 The Call: Cuts To Summer Programs Frustrate Parents, Lawmakers
BREAKING UPDATE TO TOPIC BELOW: Hours after the contentious budget hearing, the City agreed to restore the funding. Moments ago, the Campaign for Children said in a statement, “Children, parents, and providers are breathing a sigh of relief tonight and look forward to a wonderful, enriching summer.” What’s your reaction?
One City Council lawmaker called it “incredibly frustrating.” Another said the problem needs to be “fixed tomorrow.” They were talking about 17,000 summer program spots for middle school students that Mayor de Blasio’s administration eliminated two weeks ago, as first reported on NY1. Before a City Council hearing today on education, upset parents said they were now scrambling to make alternate plans for their kids this summer.
School Chancellor Carmen Farina never directly answered questions about the program cuts during the hearing, but the money can be restored during budget negotiations. Last summer, de Blasio doubled the seats in middle school summer programs from 17,000 to 34,000. But the funding has since been redirected to help the 130 struggling schools getting a $50 million funding boost.
Should the Department of Education restore the 17,000 summer programs seats for middle school students? If your program is one of those being cut, what was your reaction when you heard the news? What are your options now? Are there enough free summer programs for kids in this city? Do you welcome the spending of your tax dollars on ways to keep young New Yorkers involved in positive activities?
As viewer Tony wrote in his e-mail: that was quick! Just hours after parents and lawmakers gathered, the City reversed its decision to cut summer program slots, just two weeks after it reversed its initial decision to fund them in the first place. All this back-and-forth is enough to give a person whiplash. The situation seems like it was unnecessary in the first place – it’s no wonder parents were distressed after being given just a few weeks’ notice that the programs they had already planned for were being canceled. I think next year, a little heads up and discussion would make for a better experience.