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.
NOTE: Some e-mails were sent before the breaking news alert that the funding to summer programs had been restored.
And the good ship De Blasio hits another iceberg, scraping its hull and taking on a little water . . . . and this will be a mere lifeboat drill compared to how people will have to deal with his budgetary shell game in another two years . . . . I only feel badly -- though just a little -- for the deluded poor that put their faith in him.
Upper West Side
Double edged sword. On the one hand, this mayor is spending a lot of the money saved by Bloomberg's cleanup. On the other hand, he is putting it towards much needed areas that need major rehabilitation.
Ari, West Chelsea
YOU CAN'T GO WRONG ON RIGHT STREET. WHEN IN DOUBT, INVEST IN THE KIDS.
I PREFER THIS E MAIL INSTEAD OF THE PREVIOUS ONE. HAPPY SUMMER KIDS!
IDLE MINDS BECOMES THE DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND. KIDS COULD BECOME VULNERABLE TO GANG RECRUITMENT AND DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR. IF THE KIDS DO NOT HAVE A PROGRAM TO VISIT, THEY MAY JUST VISIT YOUR APARTMENT WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT HOME. JUST SAYING.
Wow that was quick John!
They must have read my email and started scratching there heads
to realize that everything was making sense?
"Incredibly frustrating" yes, it never fails but any funding or something
positive for the betterment of children lives and or education is always
fully or partially cut because the money needs to be re-directed somewhere
else like prisons, the poorly managed NYCHA, pay a consultant x amount of
money to do a survey or the infamous Zumba studio at Police Plaza.
It is a shame with the school year coming to an end next month, children
need a place to go to have fun, learn something positive or do extracurricular
Parents/guardians on the other hand need a safe and healthy environment for
there loved ones to be while they are at work since regular school is out and
these kids are more prone to get into trouble by doing something stupid or
illegal out of boredom and lack of proper supervision.
Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Farina leave the programs alone and keep
them fully funded for the children's sake if you so care!
The D.O.E. should restore the 17,00 summer programs for the middle school kids so they'll have something to do instead of getting in trouble just hanging out on the streets. Most parents don't have time or the money to take them on vacation to Disneyland or send them to summer camp, they can go to the library or the park but they have to have someone to take them if they're in the lower grades because it's dangerous for them to go outside alone. If the parents can find a reliable and dedicated babysitter that will watch the kids while they work or run errands that would help. There should be summer programs for every student even the ones in High school that can't find a summer job.
Upper west side
This whole administration doesn't know what they are doing. They never
plan and just make promises for the moment when it looks good for them.
Most of the time it concerns their voters amenities.
How can they eliminate 17, 000 juvenile jobs and then on the other hand
try to reinstate them. They are dealing with money? Arent they ?
It seems as though to me that there isn't anything thought out at all and
why does it always seem to me that this city council just has a blank check
to work with.
They just turn it on and off like a faucet. Many people have prepared for this so
called plan that would at least keep the students occupied for the summer.
Just think that this mayor is fighting for control of the school system.
No consideration for anyone.
Education should be private, not public, not government run. DeBlockhead and the old hag Carmen Spitoona should both be thrown out of office.
It's a shame how every year there is a cut or a threat to cut funding for these programs but there's always money for the prison industrial complex. Having these programs will keep these kids under supervision and us parents can go to work with a peaceful mind not worrying about our children getting into some kind of trouble or just sitting home unoccupied. Better financial judgement needs to take place so that our children today can have a better tomorrow.
Maggie, Mariners Harbor
There is truly a finite amount of money the City has to spend - Albany won't allow any new taxes/tax hikes for NYC - so where does everyone think the money is going to keep coming from? Chances are the same council members and parents/advocates protesting for the restoration of these funds will be protesting again when funds used to pay for summer programs are taken away from other areas (schools, safety, housing, etc.).
As a native NY'r I know we didn't have such programs as kids - we spent our summers with friends in our neighborhood, at free (or nominally priced) programs offered by parishes, Salvation Armies, VFWs, etc.. I know things are different today than they were then, but parents cannot keep expecting the City and taxpayers to pick up the tab for their children. There has to be a balance here. But, good luck finding it!
I applaud Nancy for her persistence on this issue. As a mom of a middle school child i too know the importance of summer options for our children. I would even say that this is far more important than monies spent on pre k for all. I hope deblasio listens to more parents like Nancy.
Kudos to Mayor de Blasio for hearing parents voice. These same parents need to rally in front of Governor Cuomo's office on Third Avenue. The Governor is in violation of a court order in the CFE case to fully fund New York City schools. This is the root of the problem, which forces the.Mayor to make these difficult choices.
I applaud the last minute decision to restore the funding. Yet, parents & children might not be so lucky the next time. It's equally important that our children learn how idle time exists if they make it so. "Trouble" comes to those who look for it. It's up to them to create positive ways to occupy their time even without a camp to go to. More emphasis must be put on that.
What planet does Zach live on? Working parents need a place to put their kids while they work. It keeps them off the streets.
I think Olman missed Zach's point which I took to be "don't have children you cannot afford." Reproducing is a right, not an obligation. I don't have children and see my hard earned money continually funding other people's irresponsibility. Summer camp??? What's next? The universal pre-k was bad enough. Maybe we should spend some money educating people on responsible reproduction. That's a cause I'd be happy to see funded!
Adrienne in Harlem
Summer youth programs and employment is absolutely necessary. It keeps our youth safe and builds the soft skills and experience that are needed their future. Anyone else who believes otherwise are simply illogical. These are the same people who call young people thugs and criminals so why not keep them off the streets and in something productive. Tarron from Queensbridge
This is in response to the summer programs I have two children in after school at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens. The funding was cut completely Dycd recinded all grants. This is not a very wealthy community it's for the poor and working class people. Parents are forced to pay $800 per child. This has doubled from $450 2yrs ago. As parents who actually live in this community this our only vital resource a safe haven for our kids. After school and extended day programs inbschools cut and now summer camps. Should parents quit their jobs to ensure their kids safety. This is a financial hardship and the kids arev paying the price.
I honestly feel that these programs should only apply to the kids of working tax paying parents. You have a lot of parents that don't work and are only looking for somewhere to dump their kids during the day for the summer so that they don't have to deal with their own kids. It's abusive, we help house, feed and clothes these kids while their parents live the good life.
Elvis from Washington Heights
Hey! This is a city for the rich and [in]famous. Don't bother us with real people with real children. We have oligarchs and plutocrats to cater to. Where are your priorities? Tsk tsk.
Give 20 million to parks, parkees who maintain and control and keep clean.
The nonprofits get monies and do nothing in schools and for schools. Pols and DOE don't have a clue where dollars should go. Ask school personnel. Elvis said it best. Teach kids to give back not take all the time or expect it.
Children are not responsible for parents working, or not working.
De Blasio never should never have cut funding. Now the funding is back.
Kids need something to do during the summer. Money well spent!!