NEW YORK, NY – A delegation of young children delivered more than 5,000 letters and petitions to Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, on behalf of 47,000 low income and working class children scheduled to be booted out of the city’s subsidized child care and Head Start programs in coming months.
The controversial cutbacks are part of the Mayor’s proposed city budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. His plan is being hotly debated by City Council as it considers the Mayor’s budget proposal over the next five weeks.
“Our children, families and communities will suffer an impact that will be devastating in both the short and long term,” says a petition signed by parents and friends of the city’s Head Start programs.
“My child is being threatened by your Early Learn NYC program,” says a letter. “Your administration needs to rethink its plan.”
Early Learn NYC is the name of the Mayor’s troubled plan to reorganize the delivery of child care services. More than 100 child care and Head Start centers are scheduled to be shut down in just the first year of Early Learn, resulting in a net loss of more than 9,000 available slots for children.
More than 2,000 unionized child care and Head Start workers – who earn an average salary of just $28,000 per year – would also lose their jobs.
“This is a bad deal for thousands of struggling families, a bad deal for dedicated, low paid workers and ultimately a bad deal for all the people of New York,” commented Luz Santiago, Associate Director of AFSCME District Council 1707, which represents many of the city’s child care and Head Start employees.
Labor unions from across the city and state are planning a large rally at City Hall on Thursday, May 31. (www.laborpress.org)