Tag Archives: DYCD

Bloomberg budget takes aim at after-school programs, teachers’ jobs


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Child Center of NY

When millions in after-school program funding was cut in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget last year, parents held rallies, wrote letters and made phone calls until the City Council restored $150 million, saving these programs for thousands of children.

The support greatly touched Deep Ghosh, director of youth development for The Child Center of NY, which provides 15 after-school programs in Queens — and he hopes it will move him once again.

The after-school program money that was restored last year will run out in late June, and, despite protests, the mayor’s Fiscal Year 2014 preliminary budget still axed 700,000 hours, or around $135 million, from these programs.

“Just like last year, 47,000 children are set to lose access to after-school and early education programs – programs proven to help children succeed while parents work to support their families,” said Michelle Yanche, assistant executive director for government and external relations at Good Shepherd Services. “The same parents and providers will be forced to fight for the same funding that they were just given a few months ago. How can this be happening, after all we’ve heard from our city leaders about making children a priority?”

“I think people underestimate the value that [after-school programs] bring to developing young people into well-rounded individuals,” said Ghosh.

The Child Center of NY depends on approximately 75 to 80 percent of its funding from the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), said Ghosh.

With these cuts, around 1,000 of their children would not have programming that keeps them safe and helps support working parents, he said.

During last year’s proposed cuts, some parents told Ghosh that they would need to quit their jobs if there were no afterschool programs for their children.

Though the mayor’s budget included $6.5 billion in savings, it also made other cuts affecting the city’s students, after millions in funding and grants were lost when teacher evaluation talks failed last week.

According to the mayor, these cuts could result in the loss of 700 teachers through attrition this year, $67 million less for school supplies and the reduction of extracurricular funds.

For a full summary of the mayor’s financial plan, visit www.nyc.gov/html/omb.

 

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Beacon Program closure protest continues


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Community outcry at the possible closure of several Queens Community House Beacon Program centers is growing louder as more neighborhoods, faced with potentially losing their facilities, are speaking out.

“The state of the community’s outrage is an understatement,” said Marva Dudley, president of the advisory board at Parsons Beacon, a center facing possible closure. “It serves so many people and is essential to working parents. The community is devastated.”

According to a representative from the office of Councilmember James F. Gennaro, The New York City Youth Alliance, a group of non-profits, compiled a list of 16 Beacon Programs potentially facing closure. Eight of these programs are located in Queens.

“We know these proposed cuts often occur as the city finalizes its budget, but Beacons are a vital part of this community and must be preserved,” said Gennaro. “If we stand up now, we send a message that we are paying attention, and we take the first step to ensuring the funding continues. And that means all these great kids keep getting the tutoring and supervision they need to succeed.”

Queens Community House is a network of social service providers, assisting nearly 30,000 people borough-wide with benefits such as tutoring and athletics, as well as classes for General Education Diploma (GED) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

The Beacon Program, a subset of Queens Community House, is a “youth-development center,” providing year-round, complementary services, specializing in young people ages six to 21 and focusing on leadership and skill growth.

On Tuesday, February 13, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, expressing his opposition the potential termination of a Beacon Program located at J.H.S 190.

According to a representative from the mayor’s office, the possible closure of services such as the Beacon Program is attributable to “painful funding decisions.”

“We are committed to providing the quality programming on which so many rely, and will work within our means to continue to provide them,” said the representative, who alleged that the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will eliminate seven Beacon programs in the interest of saving approximately $2.1 million in the 2013 Fiscal Year.

DYCD has undergone measures to investigate the effectiveness of at-risk centers, analyzing population and socioeconomic data. This process has not yet been completed.