In a conference call yesterday with leaders of Agudath Israel of America and leaders from several Jewish schools including Belz, Pupa and Satmar, City Council Budget Director Preston Niblack announced that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has restored approximately 25 million dollars to the after school voucher program. Funds that are desperately needed by New York’s poorest families.
Just a few weeks ago, hundreds of effected parents received letters informing them that due to budget cuts they were being removed from the after school program. Panic set in as parents and school administrators publicly and privatly voiced serious concerns with losing this irreplaceable funding. Restoration became a community priority.
With thousands of calls to the Mayor’s office and effective activism from the grass roots and from hard working City Council members this funding as announced today by the Speakers Budget director, has now been partially restored though it does represent a reduction of approximately two thousand dollars per child. The restoration comes as a welcome relief to those who were going to be left with no after school program at all.
Askonim and officials had been working feverishly for months to restore funding to this vital program. Today, activists and school administrators specifically thanked Agudah Askonim R’ Shia Ostreicher and Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz and the many dedicated city council members including, Speaker Quinn, finance chairman Dominic Recchia, Brad Lander, David Greenfield, Steve Levin, Lou Fidler, Letitia James and the hundreds of concerned parents who never stopped fighting for this restoration. “Their tireless work and commitment to this issue and many other community concerns never stops. The entire community is grateful.”