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Concerns Remain On Day Care Cuts

Mayor Bloomberg restored his plan to slash over 16,000 day care slots last week, but at least one City Council member is saying his figures don’t add up.
Bloomberg cut the slots – that are a lifeline to working parents – in his preliminary Fiscal Year 2012 budget saying it would save the city $95 million. However, in his updated proposal he restored $40 million for some of the slots and shifted the bulk of the slots (10,500), to the Out-of-School-Time (OST) program.
The OST program would be for kids between the ages of 5-12. The 4,400 kids between 0-4 years of age would continue at the neighborhood-based day care centers.
“This proposal has raised more questions than it has answered, and it seems unlikely that a $95 million problem could be solved with only $40 million,” said City Councilman Al Vann.
Sources said Bloomberg’s new proposal didn’t address the number of local child care classroom-based centers that might be shuttered or how many jobs would be affected.
Additionally, Bloomberg’s proposal doesn’t address if local OST programs logistically accommodate a big influx of students. If they can’t it would affect parents’ ability to pick day care centers that are close to work, home or another child’s school.
“While the mayor restored some funding for child care services and has proposed to shift a significant number of children receiving services over to the Department of Youth and Community Development’s less expensive Out-of-School-Time programs, the feasibility and full impact of his proposal remains unclear,” said Vann.
The City Council and Bloomberg must agree on the FY 2012 city budget by July 1.