It’s a dance parents and service providers have become accustomed to performing each year. The mayor threatens to cut after school and daycare programs, they organize a series of protests and — when budget negotiations with the City Council are finally concluded — the funding is miraculously restored.
This year was no different. Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg announced that 30,000 after school seats had been saved, in spite of earlier threats. Lower East Side programs would have been hit particularly hard. In a statement, City Council member Margaret Chin praised the decision to restore child care funding but also an agreement that will change the way future program cuts are determined. “We were able to fix a broken system where funding is based on what zip code you live in,” she said, adding that the change will “ensure that programs are not cut in neighborhoods where they are needed the most.”
The zip-code based system penalized economically diverse neighborhoods such as the Lower East Side. In the future, family income will be the primary factor used to decide where city resources go.