Each year, the Mayor and City Council must reach an agreement on how the city will spend money in the upcoming year. This is a tall task, as you can imagine, and involves a lot of compromise. In the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, I called for staffing one social worker in every public school, achieving pay parity between city and non-city early educators, and keeping senior centers open. I’m happy to share that we made significant progress on all of these issues…
School social workers: All students face challenges and social workers can help by providing counseling, conflict mediation, and crisis intervention. The $30 million allocated in the budget could fund as many as 285 social workers. It’s a great first step and I’ll continue to push for more.
Pay parity: Without fair compensation, early educators cannot provide a high-quality education to New York City’s youngest learners. But educators in community-based organizations funded by the city to provide Pre-K make significantly less than Dept. of Education educators and have to rely on food stamps and Medicaid to survive. The de Blasio administration agreed to work together with all parties to close this gap in compensation.
Senior centers: Four Manhattan centers—at King Towers, Frederick Douglass Houses, Lincoln Houses, and Taft Houses—were at risk of closure. I wrote the Mayor urging him to keep these centers open and thankfully, the King, Douglass, and Lincoln centers were all funded for another year. Even though Taft will close, seniors in the area will be able to go to the Lehman Village Senior Center nearby.
Community Boards: I’m grateful, too, that Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards were again allocated an additional $42,500 each.