It looks like budget cuts are taking aim at a new target: afterschool programs.
The city announced late last week that it planned to close at least half of the after school programs in Brooklyn, reducing the number from 154, down to 77 by fall, according to a Daily News report.
Many working mothers fear the cutback will force them to make a choice between either quitting their jobs, which extend well past the time that school ends, scaling back their work hours, or leaving the kids at home by themselves.
In a survey of Brooklyn parents by the NYC Campaign for Children, 32 percent said they would quit a job or educational opportunity, while 28 percent said they would leave kids alone.
“I’m able to work, and so is my husband. Both of us need to work, or we can’t make ends meet,” said Angela Francis, 38, of Bedford Stuyvesant. Francis admitted, she's able to keep her job at a drug store because four of her kids can spend after school hours at P.S. 34 on Norman Ave. “We’re all working parents. A lot of us just depend on the after school program.”
Who was it that said, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground?” (H.G. Bohn in 1855).
And in Bed-Stuy -- the neighborhood hit hardest in New York City with unemployment—further cuts to services that would otherwise keep teens and young children busy almost certainly will pose far-reaching problems that will affect the entire community.
So what do you think will be the biggest impact of the city cutting 50 percent of the afterschool programs in Brooklyn? Take our poll, and tell us in the comments.