Huffington Post: Bloomberg Budget: Slashed Children’s Services Contribute To National Crisis, Advocates Say

By Saki Knafo

Teachers, parents and children’s advocates across New York City shuddered Thursday morning as Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his executive budget: Just as they feared, the budget failed to restore $170 million to child-care and after-school services that advocates deemed necessary to maintain the system’s current capacity.

In March, when the mayor first proposed these cuts, scores of organizations around the city banded together to convince him to change his mind. A host of local politicians, including some generally dependable Bloomberg allies, like the City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, said the cuts would be unacceptable, and parents and teachers spoke out against them from the steps of City Hall.

But to no avail. “While Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to improve New York City’s education system are laudable, his consistent, massive cuts to after-school programs and early-childhood education are counter to his efforts to be the education mayor,” said Richard Buery, the head of the Children’s Aid Society, a 150-year-old organization that serves low-income children at dozens of locations around New York.

The mayor has cut child-care and after-school programs for five straight years, leaving 90,000 children total without these programs come September, advocates said. Buery estimated that this year alone, the combined effects of the cuts and an overhaul of the child-care and after-school systems would eliminate 15,900 child-care slots and slash after-school services for 31,800 children — “programs proven to prepare children for school, support them while in school and help low-income, working parents keep their jobs.”

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