Executive budget falls short for mayor’s summer program: report

An Independent Budget Office report found a gap in the city’s executive budget, leaving out funding for about 17,500 kids in the SONYC summer session.
Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Tom Momberg

In a review of the current fiscal year city budget, the Independent Budget Office found that the city has not come up with enough funding for the 2016 summer session of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s School’s Out New York City initiative.

The club-like structure of the city program encourages young adolescents to take part in athletics and arts for three hours a day, five days a week.

SONYC, as the mayor’s initiative is also known, was introduced last September and was quickly expanded as an afterschool program, now serving about 49,000 middle school kids, 36,000 of whom were added this year, according to the report.

The summer session of SONYC, on the other hand, which provided programming to a total of nearly 58,000 students, included over 17,500 middle school students who were new to the program. But funding did not keep up with the program’s expansion, the IBO found.

The $317 million allotment for the program this fiscal year leaves out the 17,500 middle school slots that were added in the summer of 2015.

The IBO’s investigation found that in May, the city executive budget moved $27.7 million from the SONYC expansion to the mayor’s Renewal Schools initiative, which seeks to increase academic performance at chronically failing schools in the city.

~Tom Momberg

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