New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Chalkbeat New York

Chalkbeat New York NYC nonprofits fear massive budget cuts to summer youth jobs program, serving 75K young people by Amy Zimemr

NYC nonprofits fear massive budget cuts to summer youth jobs program, serving 75K young people

But the city faces a potential $6 billion blow to its revenue this year as the coronavirus has forced businesses to close. The mayor has asked city agencies to find more than $1 billion in savings, and said this week he’ll have to make “tough, tough budget decisions” as the city works to finalize its own budget by June.

Freddi Goldstein, a spokesperson for the mayor, said there was “nothing to confirm right now” on potential cuts. A spokesperson with the Department of Youth and Community Development did not respond to requests for comment. But individuals who help run or support summer youth employment programs have heard big cuts are on the table. 

“Providers have every reason to be worried,” said Manhattan City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who proposed a universal summer program for the city in February. 

The preliminary summer youth budget tends to be cut every year before the budget “dance” of restoring funding. But trying to restore summer funding this year will be more challenging than usual, Kallos said. 

The need for these programs will be just as great, or perhaps greater, as it’s possible the city will continue to ask families to practice social distancing throughout the summer. 

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Chalkbeat New York NYC officials are behind schedule on installing GPS on school buses before the new year by Yoav Gonen

NYC officials are behind schedule on installing GPS on school buses before the new year

This story was originally published on Aug. 8 by THE CITY.

The Department of Education is running late on a legal mandate to equip every yellow bus with a GPS device by the first day of school, THE CITY has learned.

The City Council in January passed legislation requiring a GPS in all 9,500 yellow buses by the time the 2019-2020 school year starts, on Sept. 5.

The sponsor of the legislation, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side), noted the DOE hasn’t awarded a contract yet to provide the devices on buses that serve 150,000 students.

Chalkbeat New York After school bus horror stories, New York City council members propose fixes by Christina Veiga

After school bus horror stories, New York City council members propose fixes

City council members are proposing a slew of new bills to address the long-standing problems. One bill co-sponsored by more than a dozen members would require all buses to use GPS tracking, another would create a bill of rights for riders, and another would require the education department to report average travel times for students. Tucked into a bill sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos is a call for the city to also consider the use of transportation to encourage school integration.

Kallos, who is also behind the legislation to require location trackers, said the city has already allocated funding for the devices in its budget.

“The city just needs to do it. It’s already paid for,” he said. “It is most important for parents and caretakers… so that no one has to worry where the bus is or their child is.”

Chalkbeat New York How many students apply to each New York City school, how many get in, and where do they come from? We could soon find out by Chirstina Veiga

How many students apply to each New York City school, how many get in, and where do they come from? We could soon find out

While some of that information is already publicly available, Kallos wants to gather more details and make it available in a single report.

He also hopes to expand the bill to include information about Pre-K for All applications to help reveal what he sees as unmet need. Kallos said that 54 percent of families who applied for pre-K on the Upper East Side, part of his district, were not offered seats in their zip code in 2015.

“The Mayor’s promise of ‘Pre-Kindergarten for All’ must include enough seats in every neighborhood,” Kallos said in a statement. “Parents in my district are giving up on our public schools and with it our government, and parents who can’t afford private school are being forced out.”

Chalkbeat New York City Council quizzes DOE on details of Fariña’s system restructuring by Monica Disare

City Council quizzes DOE on details of Fariña’s system restructuring

Where can principals turn if they are not getting the support they need?

Under the old network system, there was an element of competition among the support networks. If principals were not pleased with their support, they could turn to one of the other networks if it was not already overburdened.

Council member Benjamin Kallos noted that under the new system, most schools don’t have a choice about who to turn to for help. He asked officials how they planned to handle principals who felt they are not getting what they need.