CUNY

Save CUNY Prep!

CUNYCUNY Prep is College Prep

What is CUNY Prep?  CUNY Prep, a collaboration of the Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity and The City University of New York, helps students ages 16-18 earn their High School Equivalency Diploma and enter college. Our graduates learn the academic, personal and social skills necessary for success in college and for becoming full-fledged participants in community and civic affairs. (Information Taken from CUNY Prep’s Website)

The purpose of this school is to help ensure that young men and women become productive members of society via a solid education. That is why it is troubling when I hear that the school is once again on the chopping block. The NY Daily News had an article today (click here) highlighting how this school is slated to be closed because of the Annual Budget Dance that takes place in City Hall. The total cost of funds being cut is $900,000. Note: the Mayors Preliminary Budget is 73.7 BILLION Dollars.

Back during my early days in the City Council a similar cut was proposed by the former mayor. Students and faculty visited my office and I was educated on the benefit this program provides to our youth. Shortly after that meeting I sat down with the Mayor and his team and we struck a deal to split the cost of keeping the school open. This was a major victory that I hope repeats itself. Note: I am no longer a Council member.

Who is fighting for CUNY Prep now?

The NY Daily News mentions how Councilman James Vacca has made it clear that he will fight to keep the school open. I know Councilman Vacca very well and when he sets his focus on a particular issue, he fights for it.  I am confident that the entire Bronx Delegation as well as other Council members will rally in support for this program.

Why is it being cut?

The annual budget dance is in full swing! We are in the middle of budget negotiations between the Mayor and the City Council. The Mayors Preliminary Budget was set for 73.7 Billion Dollars and now the City Council is doing its part to ensure that vital services are protected while keeping the budget in line. The budget is passed sometime in June.

Why does the mayor want to cut CUNY Prep? It is my opinion that he doesn’t. The mayor recognizes the value in programs such as this. But as all mayors have done before him, vital programs that the council supports tends to be cut from the preliminary budget and then council members work together to restore the cuts they believe would be of negative consequence to the city.

Should we be concerned? Yes! Remember, the total budget is 73.7 billion dollars and there are thousands of programs that get funded through the city budget. There is one Mayor and 51 Council Members. If people don’t show there support for a particular program, it is possible that it remains off the final budget list.

What can we do? You can reach out to your local council member and let them know that you support CUNY Prep and programs just like this. If you don’t know who your member is Search -> HERE. Send them an email, call their office. You might not get them directly but trust me when I say, Council Staff Members do a lot of the work and can be a great resource. You can also reach out to CUNY Prep and see if they need any help with getting the message out. (718) 839-8862 info@cunyprep.org .  Also remember, You get more with Honey than you do with Vinegar.

If you want to learn more about the NYC Budget Process Click Here.

I am interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this years City Budget. Share your comments below.

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share this post.

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Joel Rivera
Former Council Member