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Principals join backlash against cuts to day care centers

Ernest Logan, principals union president
Ernest Logan, principals union president

The principals’ union is joining the groups raising concerns about the city’s plan to make cuts to 21 day care centers for struggling families run by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services. ACS officials have said that no children currently being served by the city-financed day care will lose their spots. But the plan would phase out some day care services next year, by forcing children who are eligible for Department of Education kindergarten programs (because they are at least 5 years old) to attend that kindergarten, rather than ACS preschool.

The union argues that forcing families to switch the place where their children are cared for would have bad consequences, especially for parents with more than one child who find it easier to have all of their children at one location. Among possible consequences, the union named “the likelihood that [families] would move onto the unemployment and public assistance rolls.” Rather than closing the ACS-run centers to these children, the union suggests a plan that would preserve them but would force the Department of Education to share some of its costs.

In other pre-K news: Councilman Bill de Blasio is also protesting the proposed cuts tomorrow at City Hall, and Sara Mead has an excellent round-up of how early childhood programs across the country are faring in the bad economy, and why the fact that they are struggling is bad news.

The recommendations from the Council of School Supervisors:

  • Allowing the DoE to operate classes for kindergarten-eligible at city-funded ACS day care centers which the children already attend;
  • having the DoE bear the cost of the instructional program – supplying the teachers and the instructional supports – so that ACS would have no expense, as the cost of the facility would already be covered no matter how many classes are contained in the building (in fact, shifting the youngsters from ACS to DoE responsibility is mainly a shift of responsibility and does not represent a significant cost savings to the city);
  • Shifting the children under the umbrella of the city-funded day care center after the DoE teacher leaves at 3 pm.

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