This city is moving forward with a plan to dramatically expand after-school programs in middle schools, even though it's not at all clear where the money to fund it will come from. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
When Mayor Bill de Blasio presents his updated budget plan Thursday, he's expected to direct at least an additional $130 million toward after-school programming. The city has set the next day as the deadline for schools to apply for that money, and is hoping hundreds submit bids.
"The city is going full steam ahead," said Christopher Caruso of the After-School Corporation. "A lot of nonprofit organizations and schools are working together feverishly to get their proposals in this Friday, and we're really excited at the prospect of having so many more middle-school students having an opportunity to expand their learning time next year."
The plan is to give tens of thousands of middle-school students 15 more hours a week in school, more arts, more sports, more academics and more cost, $3,000 for each student.
However, the mayor's preliminary budget had all that money coming from a tax he'd hoped Albany would pass on city residents who make more than $500,000 a year.
The tax never passed, and while Albany made up for the funding intended for universal pre-kindergarten, the state budget did not fund de Blasio's plan to expand after school.
Yet the city is moving forward. A spokesperson for the mayor said, "The Administration is preparing to make an unprecedented investment in after-school programs for thousands of middle schoolers."
City Hall will not yet clarify where exactly all that money is coming from, through the mayor has mentioned casino revenue and a bump in annual state education aid as possible sources.
Meanwhile, the city has told 371 schools that they're eligible for part of it. That's three-quarters of the city's middle schools, none of which have comprehensive after-school programming set up for next year.
What will all this be called? Officials would like a kid to come up with the answer to that through a naming contest.
Ideas for program's name are due Wednesday. Then, if all of these pieces come together, by September, the city could have an after-school system double the size it is now.