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Monday, November 9, 2009

Follow Up: Kindergarten Cuts Taking A Toll in Bronx

Back in April, we reported on the Bloomberg administration's decision to cut kindergarten classrooms from city-funded daycare centers, starting this school year. Parents, advocates and staff at centers in teh Bronx worried the cuts would mean more 5-year-olds in overcrowded public school kindergartens, parents left without afterschool care, and layoffs or closings at centers struggling to make up the budget difference.

Now, two months into the new school year, there’s been a slew of reporting on the impact of the cuts, and it looks like some of those fears have come to pass.

Last week, Leslie Minora at the Columbia Journalism School visited some of the same day care centers in the Bronx that we wrote about in April. She reports that PS 21 on E. 225th Street and White Plains Road, has increased kindergarten class sizes to accommodate the larger enrollment and may have to bus some kindergartens to other schools. Meanwhile, at the Williamsbridge NAACP day care center in the same neighborhood, where many of those kindergarteners would have gone in years past, staff are coping with the fallout from empty seats.

The Daily News reports that the cuts have meant some Bronx parents have had to cut back work hours to pick up kids from school. Public schools typically close much earlier than the daycare centers, and afterschool programs for kindergarteners are scarce.

And some kids have simply been turned away from kindergarten, the Daily News reported. At the end of September, the News checked in with Charlene Harry, who told us in April that she was praying the cuts to her daughters’ daycare center in Williamsbridge wouldn’t materialize. Her kids were initially turned down from three Bronx schools, and then accepted at separate schools, miles apart, neither with afterschool space.

“The person who did this makes no sense,” Harry told the Daily News. “They don’t know regular people’s lives.”


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