Statement Regarding Proposed Cuts to Funding for Summer Programs

Statement by Traci Donnelly, CEO and executive director of The Child Center of NY

Lynn Edmonds Queens Tribune

Photo by Lynn Edmonds/Queens Tribune. Councilman Rory Lancman and school children decried budget cuts to summer camps in Kew Gardens Hills on Monday.

We are disappointed to learn that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget proposal does not contain summer program funding for 31,000 middle school students. We strongly advocate for the restoration of this funding as soon as possible.

The Child Center of NY’s Summer Enrichment Camp at Parsons Community School is one of more than 400 sites throughout the City that would be affected by this cut. Without this program, upwards of 100 9-15-year-olds from some of the poorest neighborhoods will have nowhere to go during the summer months while parents who can’t afford other options work or attend school. To leave these children—and thousands like them—unsupervised, unchallenged, and without any sort of structure for two months straight benefits no one. If the mayor restores this funding, these children could spend the summer staying active, both physically and mentally, as programs like ours provide challenging learning opportunities, enrichment activities, and a sense of community. It is difficult to see how this would not be a good investment in the city’s present and future. We must prioritize all our children, and ensure equal learning opportunities for those who need them most.

We urge the mayor to fully restore this crucial funding and to do it soon. Last year, we received very late notice that our funding was restored. Although we applaud the Mayor’s office for ultimately restoring the funding, the late notice placed an undue burden on our families; it also adversely affected our program administrators and staff, as it gave them little time to hire and plan for an intensive summer camp, and many part-time staffers secured other summer employment because of the uncertainty. We hope the mayor will do the right thing and amend the executive budget to reflect restored funding to these programs in a timely manner.

Further Reading

Extended Day (afterschool) and Summer Learning Opportunities
Summer Programs Are Feeling the Heat, Queens Chronicle
Little-Noticed Funding Cut Highlights Existential Problem for Community Schools, Politico

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