CIVIC CENTER — Double the after-school fun.
Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to more than double the number of middle schools offering after-school programs this fall, from the current 239 to 512.
The expansion would increase the number of students being served from 56,239 to more than 119,000. De Blasio said the expansion will capitalize on a combination of district school programs and programs through community-based organizations, at a cost of $190 million.
“This is not a small undertaking. It’s not a pilot project. It’s not a boutique effort for only a few schools. This is system-wide change,” de Blasio said during a press conference at City Hall. "This is a fundamental effort to improve our schools across the board, to make after-school available for all middle school kids who need it."
The plan would boost the yearly hours of enrichment per student from 413 to 540, of which 324 hours would be filled with structured activities, de Blasio said.
After-school programs would be a place for students to delve further into daytime subjects like math and science, and they would also provide help with homework, while targeting students who are struggling or who need assistance with basic skills like speaking and reading English, he said.
“We have the providers ready to provide the service. We have the models for what makes for a great after-school program. We have all of the basics in terms of space and personnel ready,” de Blasio said. “We can’t achieve this vision for after-school — this vision that so many kids need, that so many parents yearn for — we can’t achieve it without dedicated, sustained, sufficient resources.”
He did not release a specific breakdown of where the after-school funding would come from, or which organizations would participate.
The mayor's announcement came a day before he's slated to head to Albany to continue making the case for tax hikes on the city’s higher-income earners to pay for after-school programs as well as universal pre-kindergarten. De Blasio said Monday that his schedule is still being finalized, and he couldn't say whether he'd meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Republican Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos.
However, de Blasio said he was confident his message on the need for a tax hike to pay for his programs was getting through, despite indications to the contrary.
“The more information we’re putting on the table, the more support we’re winning over,” he said.