(Left) Higher Education Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez (D-WFP-Washington Heights) speaks at a Dec. 8 rally on the steps of City Hall. Faculty, students and staff from the City University of New York (CUNY) were protesting Mayor Bloomberg’s mid-year budget cut of $13 million to CUNY’s six community colleges. The schools serve more than 80,000 students, 75 percent of whom come from households earning less than $40,000 per year. CUNY supporters worry cuts will lead to further increases in class sizes, shrinking student services and layoffs of part-time instructors. Standing next to Rodriguez are City Council members Charles Barron (left, D-FP-East New York) and Jumaane Williams (right, D-WFP-East Flatbush). All three are graduates of the CUNY system.
(Right) Also on Dec. 8, parents and employees of the city’s day-care system marched from Bowling Green to City Hall to speak out against the Bloomberg administration’s plan to close 16 day-care centers and eliminate 3,650 slots for toddlers despite receiving $29 million in federal stimulus money to keep the centers open. “This administration ignores the pleas of working families and slashes programs with no regard for its effect on the budgets of parents or community stability,” said Mabel Everett, president of Local 205 District Council 1707, which represents 6,000 day-care workers in more than 350 centers throughout the city.