A new report, released by the Campaign for Children, says that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s will particularly hit those communities suffering from high rates of childhood obesity, rampant unemployment, low school achievement and high rates of poverty – despite promises to the contrary.
The report, which can be read in full here, argues that the cuts are not only concentrated on “non-priority” or lower-need ZIP codes, as promised.
In a case study on cuts to the Out-of-School Time (OST) after-school system, the report finds – in Brooklyn, at least –the areas losing the most OST after-school programs are also: neighborhoods with the highest rates of childhood obesity: (Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint), neighborhoods with the lowest school achievement (Sunset Park, Bushwick and Brownsville) and neighborhoods with the highest rates of poverty and unemployment (Brownsville and South Crown Heights).
The OST system was created by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005, serving 85,000 children at its height in 2009. With this year’s proposed budget cuts, the OST system will be reduced by half, says the Campaign for Children. According to the report,191 programs are set to close, and only 25,000 children will have access to programs next year.
“Where there are hard-working parents struggling to make ends meet, and children without any other safe place to go, we simply cannot take away these essential programs,” said Stephanie Gendell of Citizens’ Committee for Children, an advocate from the Campaign for Children, in a statement.