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ACS Reducing Funding for UPK and Eliminating Over 3,300 Child Care Slots

District Council 1707 AFSCME
75 Varick Street
New York NY 10013

For Immediate Release:

ACS Reducing Funding for UPK and Eliminating Over 3,300 Child Care Slots

City Hall Press Conference Monday March 23, 2009 at 11AM
Followed by
City Council Budget Hearing at 12 Noon

The New York City Administration for ChildrenÂ’s Services (ACS) provides
center based child care to 22,000 children ages 2 through 5, in over 300
child care centers that are fully funded by ACS. These operations
providing a comprehensive educational program with certified teachers are
the only center-based child care programs available to families in
low-income communities. At a time when vulnerable New Yorkers are
struggling to remain gainfully employed, or secure employment to support
their families, New York City is reducing the capacity of the subsidized
child care system – a system that provides critical child care services
for thousands of working families in New York City.

City Cutting Back UPK Funding:
The Administration for ChildrenÂ’s Services has notified day care centers
that have Universal Pre-Kindergarten contracts with the Department of
Education that it is cutting its share of the center budgets as of
February 1st. Cutting funding retroactively of day care centers having
UPK programs is grossly unfair and contrary to UPK expansion initiatives
by the New York City Council and New York State Legislature. This drastic
reduction of early childhood education funds will not only reduce services
to 4-year olds but force many centers to close. We urge the City Council
to call on ACS to continue providing city funds to these UPK programs so
UPK standards can be maintained.

City Eliminating Kindergarten in Day Care Centers:
The City is eliminating about 3,300 slots in day care centers that
currently provide educational services to 5-year olds. Parents will longer
have the option to place their 5 year old children in day care centers for
a full day of kindergarten services. This displacement of young children
from day care centers will result in thousands of additional 5 year olds
forced to attend the overcrowded public schools and many being bussed to
programs out of their neighborhood. These 3,300 slots are being eliminated
from the system and cannot be used for the thousands of children, ages 2
through 5, on day care centers wait lists. With the reduction of slots
through consolidation as well as the 3,300 seats eliminated from the
kindergarten program, many thousands of children ages 2 through 5 will no
longer have an opportunity for an excellent community based pre-school

During a time of economic crisis, we should be doing all that we can to
keep people working, especially lower-wage workers who are usually more
affected by downturns in the economy. Instead, New York City is
eliminating educational services for thousands of young children placing
additional stress on parents in neighborhoods of need. These cuts will
not only force many centers to close but will also destabilize
neighborhoods. Since workers at centers live near these programs, job loss
will have a devastating effect on the local economy in these communities.

Neal Tepel: 646-591-6484

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