The city is shuttering an after-school and summer program in two Midwood schools because the neighborhood isn’t poor enough to justify its existence.
As a result, more than 100 students who use the Out-of-School Time programs at PS 197 (on east 22nd Street and Avenue P) and PS 193 (on Avenue L and Bedford Avenue) will be left to fend for themselves beginning next year.
“We have a lot of working parents,” said Lucille Mauro, a teacher at PS 197 who runs the program there. “We have parents with a single income, and parents with financial difficulties.”
But those difficulties aren’t difficult enough, says the city.
According to Department of Youth and Development spokesman Ryan Dodge, the program, which provides extra help in homework along with snacks and other activities in schools from 2:30 until 6 pm, and the summer program, which runs in July and August five days a week from 8 am to 6 pm, will continue only in the most-needed neighborhoods.
“[We} examined our entire portfolio and sought to preserve programs that serve the needs of working parents of youth residing in high-need areas,” he said.
So the city will cut 33 after school programs citywide, with nine in Brooklyn getting the axe, and 31 middle school summer programs — including 11 in Brooklyn — saving a total of $7.5 million.
But Mauro said the city’s plan to save schools in poorer neighborhoods doesn’t consider the student body at schools in areas like Midwood.
“We have some students from Canarsie and East Flatbush,” said Mauro.
And parents like Alex Tsodikov say the program is important to his neighborhood’s middle class, many of whom depend on two incomes.
“This program is extremely helpful to us,” said Tsodikov, who’s 7-year-old daughter, Emily, has been in the program for three years. “Maybe my wife will have to stop working to take care of the kids.”
©2010 Community News Group
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