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City Council’s Budget Response Advances Important Issues

Since Mayor de Blasio released his Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 in February and signaled his plans to cut funding for key programs impacting children, our advocates have showed up for multiple rallies at City Hall, our staff have testified in front of City Council, and our supporters have written emails to city leaders.

The work is paying off.

On April 9th, the City Council released its Response to the 2020 Preliminary Budget. Among the important priorities included, the response recommends key funding to address pay inequity among early childhood education teachers, better support for children experiencing homelessness, investments in after-school and summer programs, and help to ensure a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census.

Our goal is to not only protect city resources for programs and services that are key to keeping NYC’s children healthy, housed, educated and safe but ensure that the priorities championed by the City Council and broadly supported by CCC and our coalition partners are included in the City’s 2020 Adopted Budget.

While far from an exhaustive list of all the policy items we are advocating for, below is a summary of issues included in the City Council’s response that we’ve asked you to support by writing letters, attending rallies, and calling your elected officials. We will need your continued support to make sure these and other items make it into the Executive Budget and are ultimately included in the 2020 Adopted Budget.

Early Childhood Education Salary Parity
The city pays Pre-K teachers in community-based organizations significantly less than their peers with comparable credentials in DOE public schools . However, CBOs take on the lion’s share of educating 3- and 4-year-olds, with close to 60% of Pre-K seats in CBOs.

Alongside our Campaign for Children partners, we have been advocating for equal pay among early childhood educators and applaud the City Council for including $89 million as a first step towards full parity for the early childhood workforce.  Specifically, this investment would lift the salaries of certified lead teachers and directors in community-based early education programs and would allow a targeted increase in compensation to essential staff such as cooks, janitors, book keepers and assistant teachers. This is the beginning of achieving equitable compensation as the contract for this workforce is set to open again in September 2020.

Bridging the Gap funding
Bridging the Gap places social workers in schools with high numbers of students experiencing homelessness. This is a critical program because the number of students living in temporary housing continues to rise. In its response, the City Council includes funding for the current 69 Bridging the Gap social workers, plus an overall increase of 110 social workers for high-needs schools. The City Council proposes to target new social workers for schools with high numbers of homeless students that still do not have a Bridging the Gap social worker.

As budget negotiations between the Council and the Mayor begin, we, along with our Family Homelessness Coalition partners, will continue pushing for an overall increase in school social workers and ensure schools educating displaced students receive the funding they need.

Summer programming and after school
For several consecutive years, Mayor de Blasio has cut funding in his Preliminary Budget for summer programming for 34,000 middle school students. Every year, advocates and the City Council have successfully pressured the Mayor to include the funding in the Adopted Budget.

CBO educators at a City Hall rally

Educators and children at New York city hall asking for salary parity among early childhood educators

This year is no different. The Mayor cut funding for 34,000 middle school students from his 2020 Preliminary Budget, and the City Council has included funding to protect critical summer programming.

Moreover, this year, the council has taken an additional step by recommending the summer programming funding be baselined in the budget; this would eliminate the uncertainty that service providers and families face  when funding for summer programming is in question.  CCC and its Campaign for Children partners have been advocating for baselined summer programming funding for several years, and we look forward to continuing to champion this important resource for middle schoolers.

2020 Census Outreach

New York State has a large hard-to-count population, and outreach from already-trusted community organizations is a key part to ensure all New Yorkers are counted.  This year, CCC and our New York Counts 2020 partners advocated for a $40 million state investment in community outreach efforts, but the State Adopted Budget included only $20 million.  We applaud Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council for recognizing the important role CBOs will play in the Census.

CCC Executive Director Jennifer March speaks at a City Hall rally

CCC Executive Director Jennifer March speaks at City Hall rally

What’s next
Our hope is the City Council’s response to the Preliminary Budget will greatly influence the Mayor’s Executive Budget, which is expected to be released at the end of April. However, the Mayor is asking for nearly every city agency to cut its budget to eliminate a gap in funding. Our goal is to not only protect city resources for programs and services that are key to keeping NYC’s children healthy, housed, educated and safe but ensure that the priorities championed by the City Council and broadly supported by CCC and our coalition partners are included in the City’s 2020 Adopted Budget.

Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved as budget negotiations continue.

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