UPPER MANHATTAN — Community members came out in full force Thursday to protest the mayor’s executive budget plan, which proposes shuttering dozens of childcare and after school programs throughout the city.
Uptown leaders said the cuts will disproportionately impact parents in Washington Heights and Inwood with more than half of the neighborhoods’ programs cut.
“I've been in this field for 20 years and have never seen the likes of this,” Angelo Ortiz, spokesman for Inwood Community Services, Inc., said of the approximately $2 million in cuts he estimates will impact the Uptown neighborhoods.
Council members briefed on the plan early Thursday said the city will press forward with plans to cut 200 after-school programs that serve about 27,000 elementary- and middle-school students across the five boroughs as of next fall.
Ortiz and representatives from City Councilmen Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez’s offices joined a coalition of more than 150 groups, including the Children's Aid Society, to protest the cuts on the steps of City Hall today.
According to Ortiz, Washington Heights and Inwood could see a cut from 18 “Out of School Time" after school programs to six. That means 1,200 elementary and middle school year-round program slots for children would be gone in Community Board 12’s district as of Sept. 1, Ortiz said.
“It isn't just about youth and families, but our local economy,” Ortiz wrote in an email. “This is money that has been spent in our district that is spent in our local businesses, that have built the professional youth service capacity of hundreds of employees who will be out of the job, money that helped to keep scores of our young adult employees in college.”
Pamela Palanque-North, chair of Community Board 12, said the board stands united in the “demand that the mayor and council rescind any budget cuts to services to children, youth and families in CD12M and across NYC.”
“I believe that this action is an assault on the poor and working families and will stifle the growth and development of our children and communities well being on many levels,” she said.