|Council Makes OST Designations|
|Friday, 29 June 2012 03:09|
The City Council has announced those nonprofits whose Out-of-School Time (OST) programs will be funded through the Adopted Budget’s $50.6 million restoration of proposed budget cuts. The 251 individual program designations were made in time to be included in the “Schedule C” for the Council’s final vote on the Adopted Budget yesterday afternoon.
The restorations would seem to indicate that a majority of the approximately 300 elementary and middle school OST programs which had been targeted to close will remain open for at least the coming year. The large number of planned program closures resulted from a combination of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts and an extraordinarily high turnover in provider and program locations as part of the Department for Youth and Community Development (DYCD) recent RFP-driven contract announcements.
“I’m just thrilled that each one of these awards represents a program that is going to be able to keep its doors open,” says Michelle Yanche, Director of Public Policy at Good Shepherd Services.
“This is a huge win for children and families.”
Many providers saw many of their existing programs re-funded. Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF), the largest provider of OST services, received 19 awards. When added to those existing programs which had already been re-funded and 18 additional programs in new schools which had come through the RFP process, SASF now will be offering OST programs in 38 different schools.
“I think this is an extraordinary victor for the afterschool movement,” said Jim O’Neill, President of SASF. “The Council did a wonderful job fighting for children. Despite all the pain which we have all been through over the past few months, I believe that the political landscape of the city has changed. Because of the massive cuts that were proposed, New Yorkers suddenly realized how important after school programs are. I think these programs have jumped way up on the list of policy priorities for parents and elected officials.”
Many providers and advocates, however, remained angry at the toll which this year’s budget battle has taken on parents, children and staff. “This budget dance is obscene,” said Lew Zuchman, Executive Director of SCAN-NY. “These are people who are living on the edge; who are worried about their jobs and their salaries; parents who were worried about how they were going to take care of their kids. I had people who broke down and had to be taken to the hospital. How can the Mayor single out these programs in the most vulnerable communities in the City for cuts and make us go through all this?”
“We had to issue termination letters to staff. “Now we have to hire them back,” said one Executive Director, who also noted that agencies had been force to begin removing equipment from City schools. “Now we’ll have to turn around and bring it back.”