New Rochelle and White Plains were among four school districts in Westchester that did not receive 21st Century Community Learning Center grants when they were announced earlier this month. Loss of these grants ultimately goes back to sequestration cuts by the federal government, cuts that forced the State Department of Education to limit the amount of aid it will give out in the upcoming school year to $78.1 million instead of $82 million.
I am among several legislators in New York State that are pushing to have the Department of Ed hear an appeal on the matter. The programs that will have to be cut because these grants are no longer available will have a big impact on the aforementioned school districts. Free after-school programs that are of immeasurable help to families in need will no longer be available if the school districts can’t come up with funding, money that totals roughly $2.25 million in White Plains and New Rochelle, on their own.
These are difficult economic times for everyone. But continuing to cut aid to the school districts and the children that need help the most is not the answer. Where are the children who take advantage of these after-school programs supposed to go now? How are the parents who need these programs supposed to come up with the money to place their children somewhere else?
I, along with Assembly members such as Steve Otis (D-Rye) and David Buchwald (D-White Plains), will continue working to have the State hear this appeal. These are important programs that simply cannot be tossed away.
Port Chester and the Tarrytowns also saw their funding cut.