Stumping at churches across the city yesterday, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced a $13 million initiative to add more slots to the city’s after school programs. 4,000 seats will be added to after-school care and tutoring for elementary and middle school students.
“The expansion of after school program seats fulfills a critical need for hard-working families who may struggle to afford childcare, and offers more of our students high-quality after-school programming that will help them to thrive, said Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott in a statement.
Erin Hughes, Press Secretary to Chancellor Walcott, says the exact distribution of the slots across the five boroughs has yet to be determined, citing capacity concerns.
“We do not have the number of additional seats per borough yet because the Department of Youth and Community Development will first engage with Community Based Organizations to determine who has capacity to serve more students,” she tells Runnin’ Scared.
As it stands, after school programs–known by the catch-all term Out-of-School Time–are housed not just in schools and community centers, but in churches, public housing, and public park facilities.OST offers students after-school instruction in science, math, and technology, as well as provides snacks and recreational outlets for kids.
The program has been around since 2005, reaching its peak enrollment of 87,000 children in 2008. Due to budget cuts, the program was downsized, and even with the added 4,000 seats OST enrollees will only number 56,000 in the 2013-2014 academic year, a 35 percent decrease across five years.