Town Hall to save child care centers

From left, Charles Fisher, founder/chairman, HNSYC, Monica Pringle, dep. chief of staff for Sen. Shirley Huntley, Assemblyman William Scarborough, Assemblywoman Vivian Cook and HHSYC Exec. Dir. Randy Fisher.
Photo by Juliet Kaye
Photo by Juliet Kaye

The Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council (HHSYC) and Assemblyman William Scarborough held a Town Hall Meeting at York College to save child care centers.

Mayor Bloomberg’s budget proposal includes cutting 16,624 child care subsidies for children of low income families.

Charles Fisher, founder and Chairman of the HHSYC and Executive Director Randy Fisher hosted the Town Hall and launched the “Child Care, Education and Public Safety” campaign to stop child care center budget cuts and closings of child care centers, re-open closed child care centers, open after-school programs.

Scarborough acknowledged everyone has a bad budget situation, but it’s not fair to cut 16,624 child care slots when there are other things that can be done.

Calling this an assault on child care, he said the mayor’s budget cuts have the greatest impact on and harm the youngest, oldest and poorest. “We are short on revenue while we have a millionaire’s tax for those making $200,000 or above which is going to end Dec. 31,” he said.

The assembly suggested continuing the tax but making it a real millionaire’s tax on those making more than $1 million, which would affect .04 of 1 percent of New Yorkers statewide. If the tax is not continued, the wealthiest will have a pay raise, with more money in their pockets. “There needs to be shared compromise, not all the burden heaped on the poor and moderate income middle class,” noted the participants.

Monica Pringle, deputy chief of staff for Sen. Shirley Huntley decried the scheduled closing of the Originals of Jamaica, the very first day care center in Southeast Queens and one Sen. Huntley was involved with in 1959.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said the two groups struggling the most in our culture are children and seniors. “I’m not proud of our city, messing with the lives of our children and seniors,” she said.

Marshall said there are no real alternatives to day care centers. Children who go to early child care centers do better in school and in life. She cited statistics: “Of the children in early childcare centers, 59 percent are school age children, 14 percent are preschoolers and five percent are infants and toddlers.”

Assemblywoman Vivian Cook urged everyone not to be quiet about this. “Be loud. I’m going to be very loud. Let’s tell the mayor we’re tired of him and we’re sick and tired of being tired.”

Everyone was urged to call the mayor and let him know it’s unacceptable to cut money out of our childrens’ lives and their futures.

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