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La Puente slashes after-school program at Hurley Elementary in Rowland Unified

LA PUENTE — After evaluating the viability of what has quickly become a costly after-school enrichment program, city officials have decided to slash the club from a second area location.

The City Council in December eliminated its STARS after-school program at one of its three active sites, the La Puente Community Center, because of its dismal participation rates and increasing operational costs.

In an effort to further reduce expenses, city officials recently voted to cut the program at its Hurley Elementary School site once the school semester is over.

Officials said the move will allow for the money the city spends to run the program to be used elsewhere in the community.

The money that “we’re spending is for a very small population,” Mayor Dan Holloway said. “We can use that money for (recreational) programs to serve for the entire community, whether through the community center or special events we have for youth. “

The program’s third and largest site, Fairgrove Academy, will remain open until other cost-effective options are available.

“We have provided services to these schools, but they have other options,” Holloway said. “No one is going to be negatively impacted by this. “

The STARS program – an after-school homework and recreation program sponsored by La Puente’s Parks and Recreation Department – has been around since about 2001, when it started

at St. Joseph’s School.

It was then extended to several schools throughout La Puente to serve as a more affordable alternative to more expensive after-school care programs.

Parents currently pay about $30 a week and an annual $25 registration fee for supervised care, homework assistance and age-appropriate activities.

But the costs have now gotten too expensive to maintain the program, which was later reduced to three locations, city officials said.

In December, the entire three-site program was running at a $10,500 deficit, said Recreation Manager Roxanne Lerma.

While parents pay for a majority of the costs of the program, the city’s recreation department’s budget picks up the shortfall to run it.

Having historically low enrollment figures, the community center had been in direct competition with the Boys and Girls Club once it opened next door in 2009. During the 2012-13 fiscal year, the community center’s program had an average of three children a week and was operating at a net deficit of $2,780.

The Hurley site, running on a $6,800 deficit, currently has 16 enrolled students, but the average number of weekly participants is seven, Lerma said.

In hopes of increasing participation, city staff updated their fliers and held an informational meeting for parents, but there was no impact, officials said.

“The Hurley Elementary school site still continues to struggle,” Lerma said. “The STARS program did not gain any new participants. The impact of discontinuing the STARS program will be minimal mainly because it’s a designated Options enrichment site. “

The Options program is a nonprofit that also provides many of the same activities and services the STARS program does. It is free of charge.

Cutting the program from the Hurley site is expected to save La Puente about $13,000 a year.

The Fairgrove Academy site has an average of 74 participants. The deficit there is about $900.

Although officials opted to continue operating the Fairgrove program, Holloway said he wants the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District to take charge in leading after-school services there.

“School districts basically have after-school programs,” Holloway said. “I don’t want to be duplicating services where there’s another service available and those funds could be used for the entire recreation services for our entire community rather than just at one school. “

Article source: http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_22927534/la-puente-slashes-poorly-attended-after-school-program

La Puente slashes poorly-attended, after-school program

LA PUENTE — After evaluating the viability of what has quickly become a costly after-school enrichment program, city officials have decided to slash the club from a second area location.

The City Council in December eliminated its STARS after-school program at one of its three active sites, the La Puente Community Center, because of its dismal participation rates and increasing operational costs.

In an effort to further reduce expenses, city officials recently voted to cut the program at its Hurley Elementary School site once the school semester is over.

Officials said the move will allow for the money the city spends to run the program to be used elsewhere in the community.

The money that “we’re spending is for a very small population,” Mayor Dan Holloway said. “We can use that money for (recreational) programs to serve for the entire community, whether through the community center or special events we have for youth. “

The program’s third and largest site, Farigrove Academy, will remain open until other cost-effective options are available.

“We have provided services to these schools, but they have other options,” Holloway said. “No one is going to be negatively impacted by this. “

The STARS program – an after-school homework and recreation program sponsored by La Puente’s Parks and Recreation Department – has been around since about 2001, when it started

at St. Joseph’s School.

It was then extended to several schools throughout La Puente to serve as a more affordable alternative to more expensive after-school care programs.

Parents currently pay about $30 a week and an annual $25 registration fee for supervised care, homework assistance and age-appropriate activities.

But the costs have now gotten too expensive to maintain the program, which was later reduced to three locations, city officials said.

In December, the entire three-site program was running at a $10,500 deficit, said Recreation Manager Roxanne Lerma.

While parents pay for a majority of the costs of the program, the city’s recreation department’s budget picks up the shortfall to run it.

Having historically low enrollment figures, the community center had been in direct competition with the Boys and Girls Club once it opened next door in 2009. During the 2012-13 fiscal year, the community center’s program had an average of three children a week and was operating at a net deficit of $2,780.

The Hurley site, running on a $6,800 deficit, currently has 16 enrolled students, but the average number of weekly participants is seven, Lerma said.

In hopes of increasing participation, city staff updated their fliers and held an informational meeting for parents, but there was no impact, officials said.

“The Hurley Elementary school site still continues to struggle,” Lerma said. “The STARS program did not gain any new participants. The impact of discontinuing the STARS program will be minimal mainly because it’s a designated Options enrichment site. “

The Options program is a nonprofit that also provides many of the same activities and services the STARS program does. It is free of charge.

Cutting the program from the Hurley site is expected to save La Puente about $13,000 a year.

The Fairgrove Academy site has an average of 74 participants. The deficit there is about $900.

Although officials opted to continue operating the Fairgrove program, Holloway said he wants the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District to take charge in leading after-school services there.

“School districts basically have after-school programs,” Holloway said. “I don’t want to be duplicating services where there’s another service available and those funds could be used for the entire recreation services for our entire community rather than just at one school. “

Article source: http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_22927534/la-puente-slashes-poorly-attended-after-school-program

Mayor Bloomberg’s Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs


88067 more photos Mayor Bloombergs Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs

df3f2 image320x240 Mayor Bloombergs Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs

CITY HALL — Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled his final preliminary budget at City Hall Tuesday, laying out a $70.1 billion plan for the next fiscal year that includes the loss of hundreds of teachers through attrition and other classroom cuts.

The budget, which will be Bloomberg’s last, is rosier than in some recent years, thanks in part to rising tax revenue.

But it also contends with the potential loss of $724 million in state education aid over the next two years thanks to the city’s failure to reach a deal with the teachers’ union on a new teacher evaluation system — which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made a condition for the cash.

“That loss will be directly felt in our classrooms, starting with the likelihood that we’ll have hundreds of fewer teachers than we expected as a result of job losses to attrition,” Bloomberg told reporters during a presentation at City Hall, which will be his last of its kind on the job.

Because of the cuts, the city will lose 700 teachers and guidance counselors through attrition during the remainder of the current fiscal year and will have to cut back on substitutes and scale back extracurricular activities and afterschool programming.

And in the 2014 fiscal year, which kicks off in July, the city will reduce the number of teachers by an additional 1,800 though attrition, resulting in increased class sizes, Bloomberg said.

The proposed cuts will also result in the loss of more than 700,000 hours of afterschool programs, including tutoring for struggling students, and $67 million less for school supplies, including textbooks, he said.

But Bloomberg said the “suffering… is more than worth it” if it prevents the city from adopting what he’s slammed as a “sham” teacher evaluation system.

Bloomberg and the teachers union have been locked in a battle over a teacher evaluation deal, which fell apart in the early morning hours of a Jan. 17 deadline, costing the city $250 million in aid this fiscal year. The city now has until Sept. 1 to get the system up and running, or it will lose another $474 million in cash.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew released a statement blaming the city for the funding loss.

“Since it was Mayor Bloomberg who walked away from a teacher evaluation deal, the city should ensure that the lost $240 million come from central bureaucracy and bloated contracts, not classrooms and instruction,” Mulgrew said in a statement.

While the latest budget avoids layoffs, it cuts funding to many areas and threatens to close 20 fire companies, which the City Council has used its own funds to prevent in previous years.

“We should have learned from our experience with Sandy that we have no slack capacity in our emergency response capability,” City Council Finance Chair Domenic Recchia, Jr. said in response.

The budget also includes the $4.5 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, which the city expects to be fully paid for with federal aid.

And it rests on the assumption the city will be able to pocket $600 million by auctioning off 2,000 new yellow cab medallions in the coming year —  even though the plan is currently held up by the courts. The amount is less, however, than the $790 million Bloomberg had originally expected to net through the auction, to account for expected delays.

But while the plan balances the budget in the short-term, it leaves the next mayor facing a deficit of $2.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2015.

Bloomberg vowed years ago that he wouldn’t leave his successor with the same budget mess he inherited when he took office, when the deficit was $4.8 billion. And he said Tuesday he believed he had achieved that goal.

“I think so,” he said when asked about his previous comments. “We’ve invested an awful lot in infrastructure. We’ve cut an awful lot of expenses… In retrospect you can always have done more. But you know you can only fight so many battles at a time.”

But the plan left his prospective successors reeling.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the council had “serious concerns about the negative consequences reflected as a result of the absence of a deal on teacher evaluations,” and called a further failure to strike a deal “potentially devastating.”

“While some level of attrition is always a reality, the mayor’s proposed extreme high levels of teacher attrition would be detrimental to the quality of our city’s education system,” Quinn said, announcing new hearings on the plan, kicking off in March.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, another mayoral candidate, said he was frustrated by the cuts, especially when it came to childcare.

“I’m sick of this city going the wrong way on early education,” he said.

Another expected candidate, City Comptroller John Liu, said the mayor should have fought harder to reach a deal on teacher evaluations to prevent losing the education cash, and questioned whether things would have been different were Bloomberg not on his way out of office.

“At the end of the day, it’s the kids who are going to pay the price for him being an ideologue,” Liu said.

The unveiling of the preliminary budget typically kicks off months of rallies, debate and negotiations. The City Council and the mayor must agree to a final budget by the end of June.

df3f2 image120x90cropped Mayor Bloombergs Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs

By Jill Colvin, DNAinfo.com

Article source: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130129/new-york-city/mayor-bloombergs-final-budget-slashes-teacher-jobs-afterschool-programs

Mayor Bloomberg’s Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs


88067 more photos Mayor Bloombergs Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs

df3f2 image320x240 Mayor Bloombergs Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs

CITY HALL — Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled his final preliminary budget at City Hall Tuesday, laying out a $70.1 billion plan for the next fiscal year that includes the loss of hundreds of teachers through attrition and other classroom cuts.

The budget, which will be Bloomberg’s last, is rosier than in some recent years, thanks in part to rising tax revenue.

But it also contends with the potential loss of $724 million in state education aid over the next two years thanks to the city’s failure to reach a deal with the teachers’ union on a new teacher evaluation system — which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made a condition for the cash.

“That loss will be directly felt in our classrooms, starting with the likelihood that we’ll have hundreds of fewer teachers than we expected as a result of job losses to attrition,” Bloomberg told reporters during a presentation at City Hall, which will be his last of its kind on the job.

Because of the cuts, the city will lose 700 teachers and guidance counselors through attrition during the remainder of the current fiscal year and will have to cut back on substitutes and scale back extracurricular activities and afterschool programming.

And in the 2014 fiscal year, which kicks off in July, the city will reduce the number of teachers by an additional 1,800 though attrition, resulting in increased class sizes, Bloomberg said.

The proposed cuts will also result in the loss of more than 700,000 hours of afterschool programs, including tutoring for struggling students, and $67 million less for school supplies, including textbooks, he said.

But Bloomberg said the “suffering… is more than worth it” if it prevents the city from adopting what he’s slammed as a “sham” teacher evaluation system.

Bloomberg and the teachers union have been locked in a battle over a teacher evaluation deal, which fell apart in the early morning hours of a Jan. 17 deadline, costing the city $250 million in aid this fiscal year. The city now has until Sept. 1 to get the system up and running, or it will lose another $474 million in cash.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew released a statement blaming the city for the funding loss.

“Since it was Mayor Bloomberg who walked away from a teacher evaluation deal, the city should ensure that the lost $240 million come from central bureaucracy and bloated contracts, not classrooms and instruction,” Mulgrew said in a statement.

While the latest budget avoids layoffs, it cuts funding to many areas and threatens to close 20 fire companies, which the City Council has used its own funds to prevent in previous years.

“We should have learned from our experience with Sandy that we have no slack capacity in our emergency response capability,” City Council Finance Chair Domenic Recchia, Jr. said in response.

The budget also includes the $4.5 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, which the city expects to be fully paid for with federal aid.

And it rests on the assumption the city will be able to pocket $600 million by auctioning off 2,000 new yellow cab medallions in the coming year —  even though the plan is currently held up by the courts. The amount is less, however, than the $790 million Bloomberg had originally expected to net through the auction, to account for expected delays.

But while the plan balances the budget in the short-term, it leaves the next mayor facing a deficit of $2.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2015.

Bloomberg vowed years ago that he wouldn’t leave his successor with the same budget mess he inherited when he took office, when the deficit was $4.8 billion. And he said Tuesday he believed he had achieved that goal.

“I think so,” he said when asked about his previous comments. “We’ve invested an awful lot in infrastructure. We’ve cut an awful lot of expenses… In retrospect you can always have done more. But you know you can only fight so many battles at a time.”

But the plan left his prospective successors reeling.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the council had “serious concerns about the negative consequences reflected as a result of the absence of a deal on teacher evaluations,” and called a further failure to strike a deal “potentially devastating.”

“While some level of attrition is always a reality, the mayor’s proposed extreme high levels of teacher attrition would be detrimental to the quality of our city’s education system,” Quinn said, announcing new hearings on the plan, kicking off in March.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, another mayoral candidate, said he was frustrated by the cuts, especially when it came to childcare.

“I’m sick of this city going the wrong way on early education,” he said.

Another expected candidate, City Comptroller John Liu, said the mayor should have fought harder to reach a deal on teacher evaluations to prevent losing the education cash, and questioned whether things would have been different were Bloomberg not on his way out of office.

“At the end of the day, it’s the kids who are going to pay the price for him being an ideologue,” Liu said.

The unveiling of the preliminary budget typically kicks off months of rallies, debate and negotiations. The City Council and the mayor must agree to a final budget by the end of June.

df3f2 image120x90cropped Mayor Bloombergs Final Budget Slashes Teacher Jobs, Afterschool Programs

By Jill Colvin, DNAinfo.com

Article source: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130129/new-york-city/mayor-bloombergs-final-budget-slashes-teacher-jobs-afterschool-programs

Elementary School Students Rally Against After-School Program Cuts

595fd image320x240 Elementary School Students Rally Against After School Program Cuts

Students rallied against cuts to after-school programs at Sol Lain Park in the Lower East Side on May 9, 2012. (DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg)

LOWER EAST SIDE — More than 350 elementary school students rallied on Henry Street on the Lower East Side Wednesday against massive proposed cuts to the city’s after-school programs.

Under Mayor Bloomberg’s budget plan, funding would be eliminated for more than 200 after school-programs serving about 27,000 elementary and middle school students across the city starting the next school year.

“Parents need after-school [programs] so they can work,” said Diane Rubin, Chief Program Officer of the Henry Street Settlement, which serves about 600 children in the Lower East Side and East Village. “So children have a safe place to be.” 

Henry Street Settlement said the cuts would impact their ability to provide programs at five schools, P.S. 110, 134, and 20, as well as the Helen Hall Youth Center and Boys Girls Republic.

“The city needs to provide more funding so children will have a space to be,” Rubin said.

She added that it only costs the city $2,000 per child for 10 months of after-school programs.

“It’s priorities,” Rubin said. “Children are our future.”

Mayor Bloomberg’s budget did avoid teacher layoffs, with nearly 2,600 teaching position that had been slated for elimination being spared.

“Certainly, we have been living above our means, and there’s a correction taking place,” Bloomberg said when he presented the budget on May 3.

Rubin said her organization will seek new funding sources and other opportunities in case they do lose city funding.

The City Council has until June 30 to approve the budget. Hearings on the proposal start May 14.

 Elementary School Students Rally Against After School Program Cuts

By Ben Fractenberg, DNAinfo.com

Article source: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120509/lower-east-side/elementary-school-students-rally-against-after-school-program-cuts

Public High School: 5 Hidden Costs

This piece comes to us courtesy of U.S. News World Report.

With two sons already through public high school, mother of four Tamara Krause assumed she knew what to expect as her daughter entered Florida’s Paxon School for Advanced Studies.

As her daughter received rigorous preparation for college during the school day and participated in lots of extracurriculars after, her mother planned to be squirreling away money saved by attending a charter school in a future college fund.

But it wasn’t too long into her daughter’s freshman year of high school that Krause realized she’d been mistaken. “The money we had hoped to save, we’re spending on things we did not anticipate to be spending at the high school level,” Krause says.

“At this rate, I will spend her college fund paying for her next three years of high school.”

(Explore the new rankings of Best High Schools.)

Attending a public high school is likely more expensive now than when today’s parents were in school—and maybe even more than when their older children were enrolled. Public high schools, like public colleges, have been victims of recent budget cuts at the state and federal level, and the slashes are likely to continue in the future, according to the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

“In addition to cuts, and in some ways to try to somewhat make up for cuts, districts are either eliminating fees that they used to [subsidize] … or they’re increasing existing fees to higher levels,” says Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA. “All of this obviously has an effect on the pocketbook of the family or the students themselves.”

Each district may vary in terms of fees and charges, so the hidden costs below are not a guarantee of what you’ll pay. Still, these are some of the most common costs parents have to pay—sometimes unexpectedly.

  • 1. Modern school supplies

    Gone are the days when students were set for school with a three-ring binder and some No. 2 pencils. Now, parents say they’re making expensive runs to local craft stores each time a project is assigned and are even furnishing their students with their own laptops.

    “You have to have a computer, and then you have to have the programs the school runs,” says Jodi Drange, a parent from Montana whose daughter goes to a href=”http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/montana/districts/laurel-h-s/laurel-high-school-12096″ target=”_hplink”Laurel High School./a “They never have enough time at school [for assignments] and they won’t get their project turned in unless they can work on it at home.”

    If your child needs a laptop, consider a refurbished model that can be significantly less expensive, Florida parent Krause recommends.

  • 2. Extracurriculars

    For the Krauses, costs of the fall play, the spring musical, and a trip for a thespian group competition were straining the family’s budget.
    “[My daughter] was talking about also wanting to get into softball, and we were like, ‘Well, we don’t know if we can afford the equipment if you want to continue to do drama,’” Krause says. “It’s getting ridiculous, cost-wise, to continue to fund all these things through the school.”
    Participation in important but increasingly costly after-school programs may necessitate a family conversation, says Carol Ranft, a mother who lives within Georgia’s a href=”http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/georgia/districts/gwinnett-county-public-schools” target=”_hplink”Gwinnett County Public Schools/a district and who was paying $450 a year for her son to play lacrosse.
    “I think that’s probably one of the bigger questions for parents: As the cost of those kinds of activities increase, are their students willing to put in their time and effort into a cause or an activity?” Ranft asks. “Is it as worthwhile to them for their time as it is for the parents’ cost?”

  • 3. College prep

    It’s important for college-bound high schoolers to be ready for their next step, but taking Advanced Placement tests, which cost $87 each, PSATs ($14), and SATs and ACTs ($49 and at least $34, respectively) can get expensive.
    [Get tips on a href="http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/test-prep" target="_hplink"college test prep/a.]
    “Fifty dollars doesn’t seem that bad, but most kids take [the SAT] two or three times before they a href=”http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/applying” target=”_hplink” apply to college,/a so that can add up,” notes Karen Schoonover, chief academic officer and principal of Pennsylvania’s a href=”http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/pennsylvania/districts/new-hope-academy-cs/new-hope-academy-cs-16756″ target=”_hplink”New Hope Academy Charter School,/a where low-income students get test fee waivers. If testing costs will be an issue for you, investigate waiver options with your school’s guidance counselor, Schoonover recommends.
    Schoonover’s daughter took college prep further, with subsequent costs. Through a dual enrollment program at a href=”http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/pennsylvania/districts/west-york-area-sd/west-york-area-senior-high-school-17432″ target=”_hplink”West York Area Senior High School,/a she took college courses for $250 each, amassing 17 credits by graduation–which would have cost about $12,000 to earn at a university, her mother estimates. “It saved me a lot of money in the long run,” Schoonover says. “I wasn’t really prepared in her junior year to start writing checks for tuition, though.”

  • 4. Transportation

    Even getting to and from school can get pricey. Confronted with the option to pay $1,500 a year for a school bus to come, the Krause family decided to drive their daughter both ways each day instead–a cost of about $150 a week, Krause estimates.
    For students who have a bus option but would prefer to transport themselves, there may be an additional cost, too: “If you’re a senior and you’re looking forward to driving your car and parking at a high school lot, parking fees have gone up,” AASA’s Domenech notes.

  • 5. Special occasions

    From senior trips to prom tickets, parents may find themselves opening up their wallets frequently–or facing the crestfallen faces of their teens when they hear the word “no.” Even graduating from public high school can be costly once gowns, caps, tassels, and ceremony tickets are purchased.
    “I know this is all optional, but it’s part of the high school experience, and it’s all hidden costs,” says Yvonne Johnson, a Delaware parent whose daughter goes to the a href=”http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/delaware/districts/charter-school-of-wilmington/the-charter-school-of-wilmington-4580″ target=”_hplink”Charter School of Wilmington./a “It’s not always easy to say no to them, [but my daughter's] going to college, and you’ve got think about all those expenses.”
    [Find out a href="http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2011/09/13/get-your-kids-financially-ready-for-college-early" target="_hplink"how to talk to your children about money/a.]
    The balance of costs and involvement will differ for each family, as you work as a team to figure out what you can pay for–and what you think you should. For the Montana-based Drange family, for instance, having no money saved for college was “the trade-off,” mother Jodi reasons.
    “My kids are super, super involved in everything–I just think it’s part of a well-rounded education, so we pay,” Drange says. “We might not to do this or that, you know, ’cause I think the kids comes first in our lives.”


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Stay up to date with the U.S. News High School Notes blog.

Also on HuffPost:



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Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/5-hidden-costs-of-public-_n_1498188.html

Hundreds Rally Against After-School Cuts on the Lower East Side

02461 image320x240 Hundreds Rally Against After School Cuts on the Lower East Side

Hundreds of people chanted and waved signs at a rally against after-school cuts May 3, 2012. (DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro)

LOWER EAST SIDE — More than 500 people packed into P.S. 134/P.S. 137 on East Broadway Thursday night to rail against the mayor’s proposed cuts to after-school programs.  

Elected officials rallied the crowd with chants of “What do we want? After-school! When do we want it? Now!” and then handed the microphone to a handful of the more than 27,000 children who are slated to lose their after-school programs in the fall.

“I am frightened about what will happen to me if after-school ends,” said Alexandria Woodcock, 10, a student at P.S. 110 on Delancey Street. “I am afraid of some of the people in my neighborhood…. I feel like the city doesn’t even care about us kids.”

The rally occurred several hours after Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled his executive budget, which slashes nearly 200 free after-school programs for elementary and middle school students across the city.


02461 video play Hundreds Rally Against After School Cuts on the Lower East Side02461 image240x180 Hundreds Rally Against After School Cuts on the Lower East Side


1df04 video icon Hundreds Rally Against After School Cuts on the Lower East Side

PLAY VIDEO

(DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro)

More than 2,000 of the lost after-school spots are in Lower Manhattan, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.

“Our Lower East Side community will be particularly hard-hit,” Silver told the crowd at P.S. 134/P.S. 137 Thursday night. “We can’t afford to let these programs be cut. We can’t allow our hardworking families to be left without childcare. It’s not right, and it must not stand.”

Children in the audience waved hand-colored signs and cheered as drummers from the Henry Street Settlement’s after-school program and hip-hop dancers from the Educational Alliance’s Edgies Teen Center showed off their skills.

The capacity crowd overflowed out of the auditorium and onto the sidewalk, where police controled the number of people who entered the building to ensure the rally did not become a fire hazard.

Many parents said they turned out because they wanted to show how important after-school programs are to the community.

“It’s a safe haven for [the children] to come to,” said Maria Casiano, 37, a Lower East Side resident whose daughter attends the after-school program at P.S. 134. “It’s horrible,” she added of the cuts, ”a lot of parents need it.”

Yasmin Bracero, 30, a single mom, said that without P.S. 134′s free after-school program, there wouldn’t be anyone to watch her 9-year-old son.

“I rely on it to be able to go to work,” said Bracero, who is a general manager of a homeless shelter. “Without this program, I wouldn’t have a job.”

Students at the rally said they like getting help with their homework, seeing their friends and playing outside.

“I’ll be really sad,” Amanda Villa, a fourth-grader at P.S. 63 in the East Village, said of the cuts, “because I’ll have to take the school bus home.”

Elected officials suggested that anyone who is concerned about the mayor’s budget cuts call 311.

1df04 image120x90cropped Hundreds Rally Against After School Cuts on the Lower East Side

By Julie Shapiro, DNAinfo.com

Article source: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120504/lower-east-side/hundreds-rally-against-after-school-cuts-on-lower-east-side

Fidler Slams Bloomberg Plan To Slash Afterschool Programs, Says To Take Funds …

City Councilman Lew Fidler has spent his nights this week at civic meetings railing against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed budget, which slashes city-funded afterschool programs. Fidler said the cuts are unacceptable, and the city can pay for the service with just a small portion of funds recovered from the CityTime debacle.

The councilman, who also serves as chairman of the Youth Services Committee, bashed the plan to do away with nearly half the slots in the city’s major afterschool programs, calling it “bad public policy.”

“The afterschool programs in our city provide meaningful contact with young people,” Fidler said. “The Mayor’s preliminary budget contains money for 28,000 [down from 78,000 two years ago]. That means that over half of our afterschool programs are closing entirely on September 1. That’s crazy talk.”

Fidler said that the cuts will usher in a new generation of delinquent youths, creating an overwhelming burden on the criminal justice system.

“We’re going to create a whole new generation of  latchkey kids,” Fidler said. “All of that is a disaster. Now let me ask you what you think our local precinct commander thinks of the idea. I guarantee you any penny we save today on not having an afterschool program will cost us a dollar in criminal justice programs tomorrow.”

We have historical proof that if we don’t capture these kids and keep them with good choices … they’re going to find trouble,” he added. “Trouble for you, trouble for them. It makes absolutely no sense.”

Though earlier in the week Fidler noted that, given the city’s financial constraints, some cuts to the program were unacceptable, last night at the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association he noted that recent news revealed a new source of funds to protect the programs in their entirety: CityTime.

The firm responsible for developing an automated payroll project agreed Wednesday to pay the city approximately $500 million it made off the project, for which the budget ballooned from $68 million to nearly $700 million in what is being called one of the largest frauds ever perpetrated against the city.

The recovery of those funds provides a perfect opportunity to restore services like the afterschool program, which saw cuts year after year, Fidler said. He estimated that $50-60 million would restore the program to where it was two years ago.

“There’s no acceptable amount to be cut from the youth programs this time because we took a little piece last time and a little piece the time before,” Fidler said. “If we could use some of [the CityTime] money for the kids, it’s a good investment. Ten cents this year is a dollar next year, and that means money for the DA, the cops and the courts.”

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Article source: http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2012/03/fidler-slams-bloomberg-plan-to-slash-afterschool-programs-says-to-take-funds-from-citytime/

School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

As school districts are facing massive budget cuts across the country, school programs, teachers and students are taking the hit.

Across the country, 120 school districts had, as of October, moved to four-day school weeks while others are canceling field trips, shuttering after-school programs and charging students to play sports.

The cuts are seen in Keller, Texas, where the district opted for a pay-for-ride transportation system versus cutting busing as a whole; In Georgia, where 20 days were slashed from the pre-kindergarten academic year; In California, where nearly half the districts axed or whittled away at art, drama and music programs.

But these are all reports from school officials — from the top down. To get a sense of how these cuts are really changing things, Teen newspaper L.A. Youth went straight to the source — students. They asked readers about budget cuts at their schools, and received more than 1,850 teen responses.

943b6 SCHOOL SURVEY School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

The survey asked students a series of 15 questions. Findings showed that nearly 60 percent of all students had to hand-copy information from an overhead because the school couldn’t afford paper to make copies. Half of all students also reported that their school didn’t have enough computers or functional computers, nor were their enough textbooks for each student.

School infrastructure showed to suffer the most in areas like restrooms, graffiti-covered walls, internal heating and cooling and classrooms and desks. Students also reported having to personally pay for sports uniforms more than other school items.

Most telling is the discrepancy between what students think schools should cut versus what school officials have on their to-ax lists. The top three items students said schools should cut are school newspaper or broadcast outlets, summer school and field trips — in that order. The last items on students’ “should-cut” lists, starting from the bottom, are teachers, administrators, “other,” guidance counselors and sports — all items that schools have shown to most commonly choose to cut first.

943b6 SCHOOL SURVEY School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

And of the respondents, 97 percent said they are planning to attend college, and 64 percent plan to apply to an in-state four-year public institution. Although just 13 percent said budget cuts affected their ability to get the classes they need to graduate, cuts to just programs and teachers — leading to fewer opportunities and larger class sizes — have shown to affect students’ college readiness.

According to a report released last October by the Campaign for America’s Future, evidence suggests that cuts to education funding are leading to cutbacks from early childhood education programs, increases in class sizes and termination of art, music, physical education and other elective subjects. Special programs are also being cut as a result — including those that assist students with special needs as well as Advanced Placement courses, extracurricular activities and special academic programs for science, foreign language and technology.

943b6 SCHOOL SURVEY School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

Mifflin County, Pa. is no exception to the phenomenon, according to PBS NewsHour. Facing a 12 percent drop in state funding and declining enrollment, the school district has closed 40 percent of its schools, dismissed 11 percent of its staff, increased class sizes and decreased the number of courses offered.

The $4 billion in cuts to Texas public schools last summer led to a huge hit to unemployment as hundreds of educators were laid off. An estimated $5 billion cut from California’s education budget would start with a hit to school busing programs.

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Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/la-youth_n_1277182.html

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