Council Budget Urges de Blasio To Restore Vouchers

NEW YORK -

By restoring $15 million in funding for priorities 5 and 7 afterschool vouchers in their budget proposal, the city council was sending a message to Mayor Bill de Blasio to bring back the programs that have benefited thousands of low income and large families that were gutted four years ago, Councilman David Greenfield told Hamodia.

Greenfield, a Brooklyn Democrat who is a member of the budget negotiating team, said on Sunday that while last Wednesday’s $73 billion budget pitch was only a recommendation, it marks the first time that the council expressed a desire to make the vouchers a priority.

“This is a number that puts us in a very good place to provide vouchers to our families,” Greenfield said.

The 2015 budget will have to be reconciled with the one outlining the mayor’s priorities. That is expected to be released on May 8. The council will then hold a series
of hearings until the budget is settled by June 30.

In a statement released on Friday, Greenfield called it a “monumental step in finally restoring funding to childcare programs that many families in the Orthodox Jewish community relied upon before these programs were destroyed by funding cuts during Mayor Bloomberg’s administration.”

Priority 7 vouchers, which helped large families with only one working parent, was eliminated in 2010 by a $16 million cut. Priority 5 vouchers, which were targeted at financially struggling families, have similarly been reduced since then.

As a city councilman representing parts of Boro Park until 2009, de Blasio has been a vocal fighter to keep voucher funding flowing. He promised in an interview with Hamodia before the Democratic mayoral primary last year to restore the money, although he said in an interview with Leon Goldenberg in January that he may have to delay that pledge until the next budget year.