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May 6, 2019
The Executive Budget includes additional investments for important programs and initiatives that would benefit children, families and their communities. For example, the Executive Budget includes $22 million for 2020 Census outreach and $33 million for special education services.
However, the Mayor did not include investments for many programs we believe are essential to supporting families and children.
The Mayor failed to include funding that would close the wage gap between early childhood educators, aid families and children who are homeless, and support after school programming for 34,000 middle school students. The Executive Budget also cuts Breakfast in the Classroom by $6 million each year, a decision that would threaten the health and wellbeing of New York City children inside and outside the classroom.
In better news, Mayor de Blasio baselined $11.9 million for the Bridging the Gap program, which would be enough to fund 53 social workers in schools with high numbers of homeless students. However, the family homelessness crisis requires the city to invest more.
Below we highlight these and other key areas of the budget that impact children and families. You can find our fully analysis of the budget here.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Mayor de Blasio did not include funding that would close the wage gap between early childhood educators. Currently, the city pays early educators at Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) 60 percent of what their peers receive at the Department of Education (DOE) public schools. This is despite the important role CBO teachers play in educating children under 5 in NYC.
The City Council recommended funding to close this gap in its 2020 Response to the Budget, and we are profoundly disappointed that Mayor de Blasio failed to include it in his Executive Budget. Pay equity among the teachers is a critical component for high quality early childhood programs. We urge the Mayor to address salary parity now.
You can take action today on this item by writing our city leaders.
Bridging the Gap
Bridging the Gap places social workers in schools with high numbers of students experiencing homelessness. This is a particularly critical program as the number of students living in temporary housing continues to rise.
Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Budget funds 53 social workers in schools with high numbers of homeless students. However, NYC’s homelessness crisis is continuing to take a toll on families and students. Last school year, more than 114,659 students lived in temporary housing. That’s up from 66,931 in the 2009-10 school year.
We urge the City to restore $2 million in City Council funds for 16 additional Bridging the Gap social workers, bringing the total to 69. Furthermore, we urge the City to increase its funding to support a total of 100 Bridging the Gap social workers. There are still 100 schools with 50 or more students who are homeless without any social worker onsite. Lastly, we urge the City to baseline this funding so that it is not subject to the annual budget dance.
Other Support for Families and Children Experiencing Homelessness
In September 2018, there were 2,781 homeless families with children living in commercial hotels. However, hotels do not have critical social work services on site needed to address the many needs of children and their caregivers.
That is why we were disappointed to learn Mayor de Blasio did not include funding to place social workers on site at these hotels. Furthermore, the Mayor also did not include a $500,000 investment to bring educational support to the city’s homeless intake facility, PATH.
This year, the City Council’s Response to the Budget recommended funding for both, and we urge Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to make these investments to support the thousands of children and youth experiencing housing instability.
Summer Programming for 34,000 students
For several consecutive years, Mayor de Blasio has cut funding to summer programming for 34,000 middle school students in his Executive Budget. Every year, advocates and the City Council have successfully pressured the Mayor to include the funding in the Adopted Budget.
This year is no different. The Mayor’s Executive Budget fails to provide $20.35 million for 34,000 middle school students to attend summer programming. While the administration may perceive the annual summer camp funding as part of a budget dance with the City Council, leaving this funding uncertain until the end of June when the program starts in July will again leave low-income working parents uncertain about how their children will be safe this summer.
We strongly urge the administration to once again restore this cut by the May Youth Services Budget Hearing.
Other cuts to programs critical for children.
We are extremely disappointed that Mayor de Blasio’s proposed budget not only fails to invest, but also cuts programming for New Yorkers most in need, particularly children. This includes cutting $6 million from Breakfast in the Classroom, failing to invest $5 million to ensure all foster children can be bused to their home schools, failing to invest in behavioral health supports in communities and schools, and cutting $8 million from elementary after-school programming.
These cuts are unacceptable, and we strongly urge the Mayor and City Council to ensure they are restored and that children are supported in the 2020 Adopted Budget.
Funding for 2020 Census outreach
Mayor de Blasio included $22 million in the Executive Budget for community outreach during the 2020 Census.
New York has a large hard-to-count population, and young children have a higher net undercount than any other age group. The Trump Administration is pushing to include a question on citizenship on the 2020 Census form, which experts from the Census Bureau have said will decrease the number of respondents. A full and accurate Census is an integral component for how federal, state, and local governments distribute funds to support programs for families and young children. Find out more about the importance of increasing outreach to hard-to-count communities in New York here.