It’s difficult to convey the sense of anxiety, disappointment, confusion, fear and outright anger among many nonprofit service providers following last month’s announcements of new contract award recommendations for both New York City’s Out-of-School Time (OST) and EarlyLearn NYC programs.
In both cases, these recommendations by the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), respectively, bring into stark focus the actual implications of major budget cuts on the one hand, and a radical reshaping of service delivery systems on the other.
In OST, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed budget for FY2012-13 will result in the net loss of 172 elementary and middle school programs – a staggering 43% reduction in the overall program size – as the total number the number of OST contract awards drops from 396 to 224. Another 42 high school OST Option II and Option III programs are also scheduled to be closed as the result of budget cuts, as are seven Beacon programs. In total, more than 33,000 children are expected to lose their after-school programming as a result of these program losses
In addition to the budget cuts themselves, the DYCD’s contract award recommendations also result in what feels like an extraordinary degree of upheaval and dislocation for programs being funded by DYCD going forward. While 123 new elementary and middle school programs are being awarded contracts, an estimated 301 existing programs will be closing – more than 75% of all current providers.
The map above, courtesy of Citizens Committee for Children (CCC), demonstrates the massive loss and turmoil among elementary and middle school OST programs alone. With 301 red “x”s marking program closings and versus 123 yellow circles for new program openings and 101 existing programs that remain, it vividly depicts a potentially fatal hemorrhaging of NYC’s main after-school programming.
“CCC is very worried about what working parents will be forced to do when all of these hundreds of OST programs close and thousands of children lose care,” said Stephanie Gendell, Associate Executive Director for Policy. “Will the parents have to quit their jobs? Leave their elementary and middle school children home alone? We are clearly at the brink of a crisis. The Mayor and the City Council must restore and baseline the funding for these OST programs, as well as the Beacons, the NYCHA Cornerstone program and the over 15,000 child care slots.”
ACS’ EarlyLearn NYC contract award recommendations would likely present a similar picture – once someone can figure out how to capture it all on a map. Like OST, EarlyLearn contracts appear to represent a substantial loss of subsidized early childhood services for approximately 6,500 New York City children. The new EarlyLearn contract awards also represent an extraordinary turnover in who will be running programs, with many longtime providers – both small and large – failing to win contracts under the new system.
For more on both EarlyLearn and OST see our articles Mayor’s Budget Cuts 221 OST & Beacon Programs Over 33,000 Kids to Lose After-School Services and EarlyLearn NYC Contracts Rock Provider Community.