Budget spares youth and senior services
By Sarina Trangle
The $68.5 billion budget agreed upon by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council includes new funding that will benefit Riverdale Neighborhood House and the Riverdale Senior Services’ adult day care program.
The plan pumps an additional $50 million into after-school programs overseen by the Department of Youth and Community Development. The money will contribute to Councilman Oliver’s Koppell’s use of discretionary funds for a Neighborhood House-run 135-seat program for middle school students at IN-Tech Academy, MS/HS 368 next fall.
Neighborhood House Executive Director Daniel Eudene said he was grateful to Mr. Koppell and other politicians who helped finance the program after the mayor’s proposed cuts prevented the organization from getting city funding this spring.
“We will be doing a lot of planning and we’ll be ready to go with this in the fall. We’re very excited to bring these services to the school,” Mr. Eudene said. “We put together a good service model and we expect the students to have strong academic outcomes.”
Since the OST budget has increased, Marc LaVorgna said the Department of Youth and Child Development will reassess the list of after-school programs that have been cut.
In May, the Marble Hill Community Center after-school program was put on a list of OST sites that would not be funded. Youth and Child Development officials did not return calls about whether the Marble Hill program’s fate has changed before press time.
About 200 families currently rely on the community center, which use OST funding to provide free after-school and summer camp programs with academic and recreational activities.
Riverdale Senior Services secured $50,000 for a day care program designed to provide stimulation and social connections for adults suffering from dementia. RSS Executive Director Julia Schwartz-Leeper thanked Mr. Koppell for advocating for the program, which the city budgeted close to $200,000 for before cutting its financing three years ago.
“This is excellent. It gives some people who can’t afford to pay for the program an opportunity to participate and it allows us to continue the program at not such a big loss,” Ms. Schwartz-Leeper said.
The budget plan also includes funding to hire about 1,000 teachers, offer more subsidized child care and keep library’s open an average of more than five days a week, according to a press release from Mr. Bloomberg’s office.
The council is expected to vote on the budget later this week.
KeywordsSarina Trangle, Riverdale Neighborhood House, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council, Department of Youth and Community Development,