The typically mild-mannered Councilman Vinnie Gentile went to town on a particular cut Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed to the Out of School Time program in a sharply worded press release this morning, entitled with the phrase “Bloomberg is declaring war on children!”
The program, described by the city government as a free service providing “a mix of academic, recreational and cultural activities for young people (grades K-12) after school, during holidays and in the summer,” would reportedly be cut in about half with the proposed budget released in February, and advocates have been rallying since.
“With inconceivable cuts such as these, the Mayor is basically telling 50,000 kids to go take a hike,” Mr. Gentile ‘fumed’ in the statement. “New York is one of the most expensive cities to live in and after-school programming and childcare is of utmost concern for most working parents. This is really just further proof that our Mayor has absolutely no concept of reality.”
The Department of Youth and Community Development, meanwhile, is insisting it is just working within uncontrollable financial constraints, releasing a statement to DNAinfo saying, “The city will continue to provide high-quality, comprehensive services to our students through the Out of School Time program, and we are working within our financial reality to do so.”
This isn’t the first time these types of programs have been up for grabs during budget negotiations, which often involve Council Members expressing outrage and eventually successfully restoring the cuts, but Mr. Gentile’s statement is particularly notable for the level of outrage expressed.
“What sort of covert logic is the Mayor using here?” he further asked. “He is cutting funding to some of the most positive youth development programs around – many of which have been replicated nationwide and credited with reducing the rate of high school drop outs!”