This week, Council Members David G. Greenfield, Stephen Levin and Brad Lander hosted leaders from 50 yeshivas and child care centers across Brooklyn at Greenfield’s district office in Boro Park. The meeting addressed Mayor Bloomberg’s executive budget and clarified misconceptions about what the proposed 40% funding restoration for childcare would mean for the Jewish community throughout Brooklyn. The meeting also gave administrators and representatives an opportunity to voice their concerns and agree on a clear plan of action to restore the $91 million in child care funding. The Mayor’s proposal would only restore $40 million of the $91 million that he cut and would force most children out of childcare and into an inferior after-school programs.
“We had an urgent meeting this week to clarify the misconception that the Mayor ‘saved child care’ and to jointly agree on an advocacy plan that will fight the Mayor’s proposed $51 million in child care cuts,” explained Councilman Greenfield. “Contrary to what the administration has said, childcare was not restored for all children. The Mayor’s proposed budget will result in dramatic childcare losses for yeshiva children. We intend to fight that with every tool at our disposal.”
Greenfield asked administrators what next steps they would like to take in order to advocate for additional funding in the Mayor’s final budget. The group agreed on a plan to pressure the administration to restore the full amount of childcare funding. That plan will include coordinated advocacy by administrators, yeshiva parents and children.
“Don’t be fooled, the administration has not ended its assault on early childhood programs,” explained Councilman Levin. “$50 million in vital funding is still missing from our city’s child care budget, and the alternatives the City has presented do not meet the needs of the Orthodox Jewish communities that Councilmen Greenfield, Lander and I represent.”
Greenfield, Levin and Lander vowed to continue advocating for an equitable restoration of funding for childcare publicly, and in private negotiations at City Hall, but placed an emphasis on participation from yeshivas and families. In the past, letter writing campaigns to the administration and rallies at City Hall were “go to” options for urging the administration to restore crucial childcare funding. This time, however, the stakes are much higher and the agreed-upon advocacy plan will reflect that reality.
The group of Council Members were also joined by a special guest – Council Finance Chairman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.. Chairman Recchia spoke of the difficulties this year’s budget presents, and the need for the community to stay united in their battle to restore funding cuts. He also explained that Council Speaker Christine Quinn is a strong supporter of restoring the childcare funds. “I am very grateful to Finance Chairman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. for coming to Boro Park to give chizuk to the yeshiva and child care administrators, said Councilman Greenfield. “The Chairman’s support, along with the steadfast support of Speaker Christine Quinn, is vital in battling the Mayor’s cuts to childcare in New York City. The message we are sending is loud and clear: we will not allow this administration to destroy childcare in this City.”