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After school programs face big cuts in funding

May 15, 2012 3:29:47 PM PDT
Rehearsing for a show is one of the after school activities at P.S. 172, but the music will end next month under plans to cut city funding for after school programs.

An art program on the Lower East Side run by the not-for-profit educational alliance is also facing shutdowns along with many other established programs.

"It's going to have a huge negative impact, unfortunately," Karina Lynch, program director, said.

The cuts are proposed under the mayor's executive budget. According to the educational alliance, over 47,000 children will lose after school and child care programs citywide, nearly 200 after school programs will close in the fall and, specifically in Manhattan, 40 of the borough's 70 programs will close.

"A lot of these kids are children raising children. Their parents work late, so they're 5th graders watching 2nd and 3rd graders. They need somebody who is going to watch them," after school teacher Domingo Beltran said.

"And so the question is obvious: if after school funds are cut, affecting thousands of students, what will those kids do after school?"

Any programs start with Homework Help.

"I would not have time to do my homework and not have any support because my parents work a lot," student Danny Vargas said.

"If you can imagine the Lower East Side at 3 o'clock with thousands of kids, ages 5 to 18 with nowhere to go," Lynch said.

Nancy Maxwell and thousands of working parents depend on the free after school programs.

"Please, don't hurt our children. They're here to learn, we're here to work. I may have to quit my job," Maxwell said.

The mayor points out his proposed cuts are part of the budget process.

"But I would just say, wait until we come to a conclusion, a negotiation with the City Council, putting all the inputs and see what happens in that budget because that's the only budget that matters, and every year we go through the same thing," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Meanwhile, the alliance and other after school providers are on notice and preparing for the worst, as they hope to find a way to survive.

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