Letter: Support Needed for Summer Rising Program

Testimony & Public Comments

June 22, 2021

We write today as youth serving providers, advocates, and community-based organizations to call on the
Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and the Department of Education (DOE) to
immediately address underfunding in the new Summer Rising program. Without increased rates, CBOs
will be severely limited in their capacity to run existing Summer Rising sites and will continue to decline
Summer Rising expansion sites.

In Spring 2021, the City announced plans to run the new Summer Rising program in Summer 2021, calling
it “an end to summer school as we know it.” We agree that young people need strong academic,
recreational, and social-emotional supports this summer to help prepare them for a successful school year
in the fall.

However, despite the new program design and significantly increased reach of the program, DYCD
announced on June 10 that CBOs would only be given a 3% increase on their contracted funding levels,
which comes out to a total of an extra $32 per elementary student and $18 per middle school student
(based on a program of 100 students). This increase is wholly insufficient and does not even begin to 2
address increased expenses that will be necessary this summer. Insufficient funding sets CBOs up to fail
at their responsibilities in a Summer Rising partnership.

Due to COVID-19, there are many new expenses that CBOs will incur this summer in order to offer a
program that is enriching and supportive while also meeting the required health and safety standards.
CBOs will need to recruit and hire additional staff to serve the expanded number of youth that the City
expects to participate in Summer Rising, ensure those staff have the proper background checks in place,
purchase supplies, and recruit youth to participate. Furthermore, current mandated staffing ratios are
lower than before due to COVID-19, requiring CBOs to hire more staff than in previous summers. It is also
crucial that these staff be compensated fairly and beyond a minimum wage in recognition of the hard
work that goes into running summer programming.

For Summer Rising to succeed, CBOs must have the resources to recruit and train staff to get programs
up and running in less than a month. Summer rates must be increased across COMPASS, SONYC, and
Beacon contracts to $1700 per youth for elementary programs and $925 per youth for middle school

CBOs will not be able to run existing Summer Rising sites or expand to new sites without increased funding.
If there is a commitment to a full recovery for New York City post-pandemic, then there must be a
substantial increase to the city’s financial commitment to safe, quality summer programming. This is a
pivotal time for New York’s children and families, and we stand ready to work with you to strengthen the
City’s Summer Rising program.

For the sake of our children, we can’t afford to get this wrong.

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