Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update On Possible Elimination Of Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program Due To NYC Budget Cuts - City Council Budget Hearings On March 15, Show Your Support By Attending Or Submitting Written Testimony Says Council Member Jessica Lappin

Reported February 10 on the possibility that the Roosevelt Island After School Beacon Program for kids would be eliminated due to budget cuts:

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.
Last week I sent the following inquiry to Ms. Lappin's office:
Just following up on status of Roosevelt Island Beacon Program.

I understand a document is being circulated by the Youth Alliance, which mentions a number of programs at risk due to their location and youth poverty levels which includes Roosevelt Island Beacon After School Program.

What is it about the Roosevelt Island Beacon Program location and youth poverty levels that puts the program in jeopardy of being eliminated?

Any other comment regarding the Roosevelt Island Beacon Program status?
Received this response from Ms. Lappin:
We don’t know for sure which Beacon programs would close. But based on past experience and the formula the city already using in allocating funds for other after school programming, it is fair to assume that the one on Roosevelt Island would be included.   For your information, the criteria included in the city’s formula include youth poverty levels, percentage of English language Learners, and the # of participants in state subsidized child care.

I am a firm supporter of the Beacon program in our community and have been talking to the Chair of the Youth Services Committee and the Finance Committee about saving our program on Roosevelt Island - and those in the rest of the city.

There will be a City Council budget hearing in the Youth Services Committee on March 15th at 10am at 250 Broadway on the 14th Floor.  Users of this program and other interested parties should come or submit testimony if possible.
According to the Queens Courier:
... The New York City Youth Alliance, a group of non-profits, compiled a list of 16 Beacon Programs potentially facing closure. Eight of these programs are located in Queens....
... According to a representative from the mayor’s office, the possible closure of services such as the Beacon Program is attributable to “painful funding decisions.”

“We are committed to providing the quality programming on which so many rely, and will work within our means to continue to provide them,” said the representative, who alleged that the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will eliminate seven Beacon programs in the interest of saving approximately $2.1 million in the 2013 Fiscal Year.

DYCD has undergone measures to investigate the effectiveness of at-risk centers, analyzing population and socioeconomic data. This process has not yet been completed.
Click here for the entire Queens Courier article.

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