In light of Mayor Bloomberg’s massive proposed cuts to child care programs in his preliminary Fiscal Year 2012 budget, Councilman David Greenfield sent a letter to yeshiva administrators on Sunday explaining what these cuts will mean for their yeshivas and child care programs.Greenfield explained that, in order to close the city’s projected $4.58 billion deficit, the Mayor has announced a series of deep cuts to essential services including cutting 6,166 employees, most of whom are teachers, from the Department of Education, permanently closing 20 firehouses, shuttering over 100 senior centers and reducing 16,500 child care slots. The final cut is one that has Councilman Greenfield most concerned about the yeshiva community.
“It is disappointing that the Mayor’s budget impacts many of the most vulnerable populations, including seniors and low-income children,” said Councilman Greenfield in his letter. “To that end, after speaking with many of my colleagues and senior staff at the Administration for Children’s Services, I want to make you aware of what I have learned about the cut that will impact your yeshivas: the reduction of the 16,500 child care slots.”
The proposed child care cut will be achieved primarily by eliminating slots at day care centers and Priority 5 vouchers using a “First In-First Out” approach. This means that those who entered city-provided child care first will be the first to lose their slot at a day care center or their voucher for child care. The rationale behind using “First in-First out” is that the population losing their child care will have already had time to benefit from their respective child care program and may be able to pursue other opportunities, such as Universal Pre-K.
Also likely to be impacted are families with household incomes that are 200% of the poverty level, which is higher than the standard 100% poverty level threshold. Their day care will be eliminated, even if they recently joined the program, in order to spare families with lower incomes.
Letters started going out to impacted families on February 15 and all letters should be received by the end of this week. If a family has not received a letter by the end of this week, their child care should not be affected by these drastic cuts. However, because of the challenging financial climate, Councilman Greenfield was realistic about the potential to restore the 16,500 child care slots that will be lost.
“Please understand that, while this is only the Mayor’s proposed budget, due to the challenging financial climate and the multi-billion dollar deficits we expect that it will be very difficult to restore these cuts,” noted Councilman Greenfield in his letter to yeshiva administrators. “That being said, my colleagues and I are strategizing over the next week to determine the most effective hishtadlus to combat these cuts. Even though the odds are against us, you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to fight these cuts,” Councilman Greenfield concluded.