Brooklyn – Dozens of yeshivas across New York City, working with Councilman David G. Greenfield, launched a week-long call-in campaign Monday aimed at restoring funding to child care and specifically to child care programs serving the Jewish community. The groups are using a toll-free number, (800) 930 6605, to connect directly with senior members of the Bloomberg administration to ask for a restoration of child care funding. Since the call-in campaign was launched, over 2,900 parents have called in to express their displeasure with the Mayor’s child care cuts, which disproportionally impact the Orthodox Jewish community.
“It is fundamentally wrong to balance the city’s budget on the back of a single community,” said Councilman Greenfield. “I am disappointed that Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs even suggested these cuts to child care. But, then to claim to have saved child care when thousands of children will still be left without child care is simply irresponsible.”
As background, Mayor Bloomberg first eliminated $91 million in child care funding from his preliminary budget. After intense pressure from Councilman Greenfield and his colleagues, particularly Council Members Steve Levin and Brad Lander, the Mayor restored $40 million of the $91 million in funding with an inferior program called “Out of School Time” or OST administered by the Department for Youth and Community Development. OST, which only offers after-school care for children, is simply not a viable option for most yeshiva parents and children, primarily because there are very few existing OST programs in the Jewish community and no plans by DYCD to contract for new OST sites.
Two weeks ago, 44 members of the Council sent a letter to the Mayor asking him to completely restore funding to child care. Last week, Councilman Greenfield had a frank exchange with OMB Director Mark Page at a budget hearing and demanded a restoration of funding that would make child care viable for the frum community. Erev Shavuos there was a major press conference at City Hall with leaders from across New York City to publicly press for restoration of child care and, on Monday, 15 members of the Council sent a letter to Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs demanding that she make child care options available for the frum community. All of these efforts have made child care one of the top budget priorities in New York City, but yeshiva and elected leaders believe more must done.
“The unity of the community around this issue is remarkable and is certainly sending a message to Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and the rest of the Bloomberg administration that the Jewish community in New York City will not sit idly by as our child care is decimated,” noted Councilman Greenfield. “This is an uphill battle. But, if we do our hishtadlus as a community and keep these calls coming, I am hopeful that we will see progress.”
Community leaders have asked everyone to call (800) 930-6605 at least once a day for the next week to be connected directly to Deputy Mayor Gibbs’ office. The suggested script for callers is as follows:
“Hi. My name is______________________. I am calling to ask you to restore full funding to ACS child care. The Mayor’s proposed child care cuts will hurt all communities but especially the Jewish community which will not be served by Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs new child care plan. Thank you.”
(YWN Desk – NYC)