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Mayor Releases After-School Expansion Plan

March 4, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio visited M.S. 331 in January to tout his plan to fund after-school programs for all middle school students.

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited M.S. 331 in January to tout his plan to fund after-school programs for all middle school students.

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his plans to expand the availability of after-school programs for every public school middle school student who needs one.  The plan will enable programs to reach nearly 120,000 children, ensuring they have a safe place to stay on task and out of trouble during after-school hours. The after-school proposal has been the companion piece to the Mayor’s plan for creation of full-day UPK programming in the City.  And, like UPK, the Mayor’s proposal relies on use of $190 million to be generated by a tax increase on high income NYC households.

“We are putting forward programs that will be game-changers for kids,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I’ve seen with my own children what finding a passion in art or science can mean to someone at that age. This is a critical investment that will transform our schoolsbut it is also a powerful policy to keep kids out of trouble and fight the influences that can take them off the right path. We need the power to make this investment now.”

The analysis prepared by the Department of Youth and Community Development, Department of Education, Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene details the city’s plans to reach its goal of making after-school programs universally accessible to middle school students in the 2014-2015 school year.

Together, DOE and DYCD now provide 45,095 after-school program slots for middle school students that serve an estimated 56,369 students in 239 schools annually. Currently, 273 district schools with middle school grades do not have a comprehensive after-school program.

The proposed plan will provide $190 million in new funding for school year after-school services.  As a result, starting in September 2014, an additional 62,791 middle school students will have the chance to attend free after-school programs, effectively doubling current service levels and availing programs in every school. Funding will also be set aside to enhance existing programs by increasing their hours of operation, thereby allowing more students to participate in after-school activity more days during the week.

The expansion model increases the price of each program slot to $3,000, compared to $2,100 in the current OST model, while sumultaneously increasing the annual program length to 540 hours from 413 in the current model.  “The price of $3,000 per program slot will allow all providers to match the funding level now obtained by those with fundraising capacity who supplement the current OST funding to ensure quality programming,” said the report.  “At $3,000 per program slot, more programs will be alllowed to hire certified teachers to serve as educational specialists and to retain more highly educated and experienced activity specialists — such as professional artists and graduate students in science — who can be pared with youth workers to offer engaging project-based learning activities.”

“Middle school is a pivotal moment for student development, when children discover their interests, explore their passions, and grow intellectually,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Expanding after-school programs not only reinforces classroom learning for middle schoolers, but also creates life-changing opportunities. Afterschool helps students become actively engaged in learning and deters them from being passive consumers of classroom information. This initiative is a critical investment that will undoubtedly help transform our school system.”

“We are ready. We have a solid foundation of programs and providers that we can expand rapidly to put high quality after-school programs in reach of every middle school student. We know what a hard time this is in our kids’ lives. We know leaving them unattended during those after-school hours puts them at risk of juvenile crime. These programs are the kind of difference-maker every child deserves, and under this administration, every child will get that chance,” said Commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development Bill Chong.

Programs will be determined through a request for proposals that matches community-based organizations with middle schools.

Click here to download a full copy of the report.

The Mayor’s proposal quickly drew praise from advocates

“The Campaign for Children applauds Mayor de Blasio’s after-school implementation plan for prioritizing programs that improve attendance, school culture, and students’ positive developmental and academic outcomes during the critical middle school years,” the coalition of more than 150 advocacy and provider organizations.  “Studies have found over a quarter of New York City children are left alone and unsupervised after school, and middle schoolers are much more likely than younger children to be in this category. That means teenagers spend after-school hours the peak window for juvenile crime & violence during which they are at increased risk of being involved in or the victims of without adult supervision.   High quality after-school programs offer safe, structured and educational alternative.

“Providing all middle school students an enriching and recreational after-school experience during these critical years of social and emotional development reinforces and strengthens young people’s ability to make the right decisions that will lead to success in high school and later in life.

“However,” the Campaign concluded, “this expansion requires a dedicated funding stream to become a reality.  We urge our leaders in Albany to support New York City’s funding plan.”

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