Friday, February 10, 2012

Roosevelt Island After School PS/IS 217 Beacon Program For Kids In Danger Of Being Eliminated By NYC Budget Cuts - No More After School Educational Mentoring, Sports and Other Activities For Roosevelt Island Kids If Cuts Not Stopped

According to the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development:
Beacons are school-based community centers serving children, youth, and adults. There are currently 80 Beacons located throughout New York City, operating in the afternoons and evenings, on weekends, during school holidays and vacation periods, and during the summer.

Typical activities for youth include:

* Literacy activities
* Tutoring
* High school/college prep
* Math clubs
* Photography
* Basketball
* Chess
* Martial arts

In addition, Beacons commonly offer adult programs, including:

* General Education Diploma (GED)
* English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
* Parenting Skills
* Family Relations
* Tenant Education and Advocacy
The New York Daily News reported this past Tuesday:
More than half-a-dozen city centers that offer free after-school, GED and immigration services are on the chopping block — and half of the ones most at risk are in Queens.

The city plans to cut funding for seven Beacon programs by July 1 and that’s causing panic among parents and advocates.

No announcements have been made on which of the 80 city centers, based in public schools, are to be shuttered.

“It’s going to be a huge loss,” said Gigi Li, co-director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, which opposes the cuts.

“Families are really going to have to think about how they’re going to be able to maintain an income while their kids are in a safe space,” she said, referring to the free after-school and summer camp programs....
I asked Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin if Roosevelt Island's Beacon After School Program will be cut. Ms. Lappin's office replied:
The mayor proposed shutting seven Beacon programs in July 2012, including the one on Roosevelt Island. Council Member Lappin is against eliminating the Roosevelt Island program, and will fight to keep it open during budget negotiations this year.

Some of the Roosevelt Island kids who use the PS/IS 217 Beacon program ask Don't Close Our Beacon.

Programs offered by the Roosevelt Island Beacon in danger of being lost include math and science mentoring, English as a second language, basketball and martial arts among others.

NY 1 has more on the possible closing of some NYC after school Beacon program closings.


commonsense540 said...

We need to organize to stop[ this quickly!!!

CheshireKitty said...

The City proposed budget is targeting many NYC educational/cultural/library programs - just as it does every year.  After demonstrations, behind-the-scenes wrangling, horse trading, etc., most of the cuts are restored and then the players (i.e. pols) can boast of victory to voters all the while being in some way once again beholden to the benign generosity of our behemoth billionaire "benefactor" Bloomberg.  

All these proposed budget cuts are just part of the annual budget dance.  

It would certainly make sense to at least show the RI community is still "alive" politically and stage a demonstration or two on the steps of City Hall (yes, we are allowed to do that as long as the numbers of attendees are kept to a minimum).  Concerned parents/teachers could also collect signatures on a petition and get the electeds on board to add their voices to a grass-roots effort to protest the proposed RI Beacon Program cuts.