The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), a project of Education Law Center, released the following statement on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recently announced proposal to close the city’s budget gap by cutting afterschool programs and raising fees for the school lunch program:
CFE is deeply disappointed that Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to make up for a New York City budget shortfall by slashing funding for afterschool programs and increasing school lunch fees.
The Mayor’s proposed cuts will restrict children’s access to vital extended learning time and basic nutrition. School lunch programs and afterschool programs are fundamental components of a sound basic education, especially for at-risk students. It is axiomatic that hunger increases the prevalence of all behavioral and academic problems in children.
The evidence is also clear that afterschool programs increase achievement and social skills, improve work habits and reduce aggressive behavior. New York City’s schoolchildren are already suffering deprivation of basic educational resources as a result of the state’s refusal to fulfill its constitutional mandate to fund city schools adequately. The number of children in classes of 30 or more has tripled because of state underfunding of education.
Superstorm Sandy has caused irreparable harm for countless New York families. Cutting afterschool programs and raising school lunch prices will only add to Sandy’s impact on New Yorkers. Students whose families have been displaced or continue to be without power or other basic necessities will endure even more hardship if the proposed cuts to afterschool and school lunch programs are enacted.
It is simply unacceptable for Mayor Bloomberg to balance his budget on the backs of our most vulnerable children. We call on the Mayor to reverse his decision and ensure adequate funding for school lunches and afterschool programs in New York City.
But the Mayor must go further and address head-on the State’s failure to adequately fund New York City public schools. In recent testimony to Governor Cuomo’s School Reform Commission, CFE urged the Commission to recommend that the State restore billions in foundation aid cut from New York schools since 2010.
CFE calls on Mayor Bloomberg to join parents and advocates from across the City to demand Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature renew their commitment to the landmark CFE court rulings, as implemented through the 2007 foundation formula, to provide all New York schoolchildren the resources needed for a constitutional sound basic education.
Policy and Outreach Director
973-624-1815, x 24
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications