Afterschool programs on chopping block in new budget
by Beatrice Liu
May 01, 2013 | 785 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Borough President Helen Marshall says, "We want these centers to stay open.”
Borough President Helen Marshall says, "We want these centers to stay open.”
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Shouting “no more cuts” in front of Borough Hall last Wednesday, students from several afterschool programs across Queens protested Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed cuts to their programs.

If passed, a total of $130 million would be cut from childcare and afterschool programs starting as early as next month.

Campaign for Children, a partner of The Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care and NYC Youth Alliance, stated that if the mayor’s proposal gets passed, more than 47,000 students would have nowhere to go after school ends. Many of those children come from working families, with both parents away from home until late in the evening.

“Many programs will be cut and that’s absolutely impossible,” said Yelena Baranovskiy, site director of Queens Community House Afterschool Program at P.S. 86. “We have a big waiting list since we are in a high-need community. There are many working parents that need a safe place for their kids, especially a place to continue learning.”

Protestors argued that the cuts not only create a burden for parents, but also threatens children academically.

“I think the budget cut is a bad thing,” said Mamadou Coulibaly, a student at P.S. 86. “Afterschool programs help students to stay on top, and should not be cut because it keeps them educated and active.”

Similar to Coulibaly, Chole Malloy, a fifth grader from the same afterschool program said, “It’s [the program] important to us and our parents because it helps with our homework, and they can help us when our parents are away at work.”

During the protest, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and several local politicians showed their support for the afterschool programs.

Marshall said she would do all she can to make sure they remain fully funded.

“Children, you are the future,” she said. “You are going to be the leaders of the world. If you have programs after school, it’s a big help. We want these centers to stay open.”

Glynis Harrison, program director at the Samuel Field Y, said the entire afterschool program could be cut.

“Under the mayor’s latest budget, we are losing the capacity to serve families,” she said.

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