Thursday, February 14

Could this year's budget cuts have long-lasting effects?

One more dispatch from last night, where I was surprised to hear several speakers thinking about the possible long-term economic effects of the budget cuts.

Ziporah Steiner, principal of Maxwell High School, offered a real-world example of what the budget cuts could mean once she cuts all after school programming. "Our students have a choice: they can join the chess club, the drama club, the dance club, or they can join the Crips or the Bloods," she said, noting that once students have joined a gang, "We cannot reel them back."

In a statement read by a member of his staff, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz echoed Steiner's concerns, saying, "I strongly disagree that cutting school budgets is logical, productive, or even, in the long run, economically sound."

And Liz Phillips, principal of PS 321 in Park Slope, said, "If this is truly a recession, schools will need more money, not less," because children whose families are affected by the struggling economy will need additional services.

Preserving school budgets sounds great for the short term, but it sounds even better when you take a longer view. Let's hope lawmakers and the mayor can be made to agree.

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