2012-07-13 / Top Stories

City Day Care, After-School Programs Saved From Budget Axe

By Miriam Rosenberg

Day care centers and after-schoolprograms across the city received good news when, late last month, the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg agreed to a $68.5 billion budget deal for fiscal year 2013.

In the new budget, the City Council not only restored Bloomberg’s proposed cuts to day care centers and after-school programs, but they increased the funding another $150 million.

This saved 37,000 child care slots citywide from being cut. Three hundred of those slots would have come from centers that were slated to be closed in Rockaway. Those centers included Lucille Rose Day Care on Beach 59 Street, Sheldon R. Weaver Day Care in Far Rockaway, Bethel Mission Loving Day Care in Rockaway Beach, and Rockaway Child Care and Hammels Child Care.

“Working together, we restored millions of dollars in proposed cuts to day cares and other services for children ...,” said Councilman James Sanders Jr. in a press release. “As a result of these efforts, I’m proud to announce that all of the day care centers in our district have been saved from closure.”

Arlene Cauley, the director of Sheldon R. Weaver Day Care Center spoke with The Wave on Monday.

“We are very grateful,” said Cauley. “The staff is happy, [and] the parents are happy that we were given an extension. We are grateful to Councilman Sanders for being vigilant for keeping early childhood education in our area. How would we serve the community if [parents] didn’t have these places to go?”

The budget Bloomberg proposed earlier this year brought with it severe cuts in day care and after-school programs. After several months of protests from parents and their children as well as various staffers from the programs, with backing from members of the City Council, the agreement was reached.

For the last few years Bloomberg has used cutting these programs as bargaining chips with the City Council, eventually finding monies to keep them open.

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