Cuts to I.S. 89 after-school
City budget cuts have put I.S. 89’s after-school program in peril.
The city Dept. of Youth and Community Development currently pays Manhattan Youth $120,000 a year to run the program for 150 I.S. 89 students. As of this summer, the department is revoking the funding for the I.S. 89 program and 32 others in the city to save money.
“It will mean a lot of latchkey kids, roaming around,” said Toni Robinson, co-president of I.S. 89’s P.T.A.
Robinson said many parents at the Battery Park City school cannot afford to send their children to paid after-school programs, so the free sports leagues, theater program, robotics team and homework help at Manhattan Youth are essential services. The school is not zoned and draws students from throughout District 2.
The city will continue funding programs in less affluent neighborhoods, said Ryan Dodge, spokesperson for the Youth and Community Development Dept. Dodge said in an e-mail that the city is focusing on preserving year-round programs, while school-year programs like I.S. 89’s were more likely to be discontinued.
Robinson estimated that more than 200 I.S. 89 students participate in the program, which is partly funded by parent donations and Manhattan Youth but is mostly funded by the city.
“It could mean the loss of the entire program,” Robinson said of the cuts.
She expects to get more details on the ramifications at a meeting in I.S. 89’s auditorium Thurs., March 11 at 6 p.m., which will be attended by Manhattan Youth, I.S. 89’s administration and representatives of elected officials.
Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, declined to comment this week, but he plans to discuss the cuts at Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee meeting March 16.
— Julie Shapiro