Beacon Afterschool Program Cuts

Submitted by ub on Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:23

NYC Council Members James Vacca and Dan Garodnick, along with other elected officials, are joining afterschool program advocates and parents in calling on the City to restore funding to seven Beacon programs that have been cut in the Mayor’s budget. The officials delivered hundreds of letters written by children from Beacons across the City to Mayor Bloomberg.

The Beacon Program at I.S. 192 in Throgs Neck, which is operated by the Phipps Community Development Corporation, is one of seven Beacon Programs throughout the city scheduled for closure at the end of the school year. The afterschool program at I.S. 192 currently employs 16 staff members and serves over 1,300 students, adults, and seniors, providing them with an opportunity to improve education and skills. These students and their families will lose these critical services if the Mayor does not restore the funding in his Fiscal 2013 Executive Budget.

"The cuts to our after school programs are completely unfair," said Council Member James Vacca of the Bronx. "These cuts hit the working poor and middle class at a time when moms and dads simply cannot afford to pay more for these vital services that keep kids off our streets and engaged in learning. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of children and working families. Restoring these cuts is critical, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens."

“Beacon programs are so important, particularly in tough economic times,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “These cuts won’t just punish children by depriving them of a place to play and learn, they will also force many parents to choose between their jobs and staying home to provide childcare.”

“The City’s 80 Beacons serve as hubs for their communities, offering a variety of programs for children, youth, and adults,” said Gigi Li, Co-Director of Neighborhood Family Services Coalition and Coordinator of Beacons Unite. “Saving the seven Beacons slated for closure is essential in order to maintain a sense of community in our neighborhoods, which is especially important during challenging economic times.”

“The closure of seven Beacon after-school programs will have a devastating effect on our communities – and this is just the tip of the iceberg, with more than 47,000 children slated to lose child care and after-school this year under the Mayor’s sweeping budget cuts,” said Campaign for Children spokesperson Michelle Yanche. “These cuts mean thousands of young people left without the safe, educational environments that help them succeed in school, and thousands of parents forced to quit their jobs or leave their children home alone. These cuts are unacceptable. We urge the Mayor and City Council to fully restore child care and after-school in the final budget.”

Each year, thousands of New Yorkers participate in Beacon programs, including sports activities, college prep and tutoring for children, General Education Diploma training, English as a Second Language classes and parenting workshops for adults. To prevent the closure of these seven Beacons, which serve 5,600 students, $2.1 million would need to be restored to the FY’13 budget. Each Beacon serves on average 800 children and adults, with a year-round cost of $390 for each participant (or just over a dollar per day). As some Beacons well-exceed their enrollment targets, the actual cost of programming for each of those participants is considerably less than the one-dollar-per-student figure.