Menino: Preschool programs will go on at Murphy, other sites

Mayor Thomas Menino reiterated a promise by his staff that preschool programs would continue at the Murphy Community Center and eight other community centers this week, saying there were state slots available for the children if funding for the teachers, who will not be paid by the city in next year’s budget, cannot be found elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t have accepted this idea unless we were sure we could maintain the childcare,” said Mayor Thomas Menino Saturday, when asked to address parents fears. “My wife started community centers way back when - one hundred years ago. I’ve been a big advocate for childcare.”

He also asked, “Who’s driving it?” hinting that a particular mayoral challenger, with supporters who have had children at the school, could be stoking parental discontent. “I don’t play politics with people’s children,” he added.

“Who’s driving this? Hundreds of families,” responded John Romano, spokesperson for City Councillor and mayoral candidate Michael Flaherty. “Families are looking for results, not lip service. This program has been helping families for over 30 years. It’s a foundation for our children’s future. Mayor Menino is failing these families and failing these children at a critical time in their lives.”

A petition to save the preschool at the Murphy is being passed around the neighborhood and a Facebook group formed last month had gained 526 members by noon on Wednesday. Daphne Griffen of BCYF is also scheduled to talk to parents Tuesday April 7, 5:30 p.m. at the Murphy.

Comments

...before going on your (obvious) political rants. The Mayor is saying he IS keeping the MCC open for preschool next year. Is the MCC mismanaged? Of course it is. And parents and neighbors are getting involved to fix it, but to spin an article about the Mayor MAINTAINING preschool service at the site is a joke. Those same parents and neighbors should be commended for getting involved to fix the MCC, but for the few who are making this about there friend in Southie....shame. YOU are the ones making this political. And I would like to ask Jon Romano how many times his boss has been to a Popes Hill meeting or to a MCC meeting. At least he is giving Neponset the same respect he gave us when he wasnt running for mayor.........none.

On Tuesday, April 7, 2009 the Murphy Community Center will be hosting two special public meetings. First, there will be a PreSchool Parents and Community Meeting at 5:30 PM. Community Center Administrators, City Officials, City Council Members shall be addressing the group. There is a FACEBOOK group (SAVE MURPHY PRESCHOOL) that has formed, and has over 500 members that are taking up the cause of the Murphy Preschool Program. This group expects a large turnout, and hopes to have their concerns addressed.

Please help ask questions that demand honesty and accountability from Menino and other city officials.

Immediately following the Preschool Parent Meeting, City Councilor Maureen Feeney is holding a special hearing at the Murphy Community Center to discuss why the Murphy School/ Murphy Community Center is being closed to the public for the entire summer for repainting. The Murphy Community Center's summer camp will be affected. This program serves 300 children. Teens from the neighborhood who normally work at the center in the summer will no longer have summer jobs. The pool will not be opened to the public.

Our community members are now questioning who is the contractor that has this painitng contract that he/they can dictate the use of a public building?

If all of this is happening in Dorchester alone, what else is happening in other neighborhoods?

While the mayor is in negotiations with unions across the city, these unionized staff positions are being cut. Is it because their union has yet to reach an agreement with the Mayor? Are our youngest and most vulnerable commuity members being punished because of Menino's unwillingness to negotiate?

Why are front line staff, the people who provide service to community members being targeted first for cuts? Is there no other fat to betrimmed off the community center budget? For that matter, is there no other fat in other departments? In City Hall? After looking at the Boston Herald's online database of City of Boston Employees Payroll, I am left asking why are teacher positions being cut when a seemingly endless number of office staff, administrative assistants, managers, and special assistants still have their jobs? Why are the people who make so much money, who dont actually work in the department are currently listed as being paid out of the Community Center Department's Budget?? When looking at this list, is interesting to look at who works in a community center, who works in city hall, and who works who knows where...

Here is a link to that website: http://www.bostonherald.com/projects/payroll/boston/last.ASC/385000/

The City of Boston Community Centers Network is spread citywide, but they are extremely underfunded. The only support that is given to these programs are city funded staff positions. At the Murphy Community Center, the city funded preschool positions are being cut. Boston Centers for Youth and Families in a letter to parents has promised to provide support. They said that they are working closely with the community center council to have the council fund the staff positions.
THAT IS NOT TRUE. Another community resident, Craig Galvin gave an interview on BNN Cable news and pointed out that he is working with the council and the letter to parents is the first news he has heard of the Community Center department reaching out to the council.

In a recent POPE'S HILL NEIGHBORHOOD meeting, a man from the department actually mentioned that staff will still have access to the telephone and classroom. Wonderful news for those of us that had planned on sending our children to this preschool. The phones will work in a classroom with no teachers. Thank you Community Center Administration for this invaluable support.

Thank you Menino for clearing up all the confusion.
You have a department that is dedicated to serving YOUTH AND FAMILIES. That department has announced that it will no longer fund preschool programs.

Correction, according to BCYF you will support the programs, but not pay for teachers. What support will be provided in the future if all you currently pay for now are the preschool teachers?

May I suggest another correction? The Murphy Community Center is NOT CHILDCARE, it is NOT DAYCARE. IT IS A PRESCHOOL. It is a wonderful preschool. It has wonderful staff. Our chilren recieve enjoy a wonderful first school experience.

Thank you for your promise to not play politics with our children. Do you even know what children, what programs you are promising to not play politics with?

Doesnt sound like it.

Thank you for writing this followup article.

I would like to first point out that I am not Michael Flaherty, and I am not writing for him. This point is directed to Mayor Menino and his staff because he thinks that this is part of an election strategy. As a graduate of Boston Latin School, I feel that I am qualified to form my own opinions, and more than qualfied to express them by myelf. Sorry to disappoint you. I am sorry Mr. Mayor that you cannot pass the buck onto someone else.

I am a parent of a child in the Muphy PreSchool Program, and I also was a student of the original teacher, Ms. Lynch.

THIS SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT POLITICS, THIS SHOULD BE ABOUT WHAT IS RIGHT FOR OUR CHILDREN, AND WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

Our children should not be sullied by City Hall politics, at least not yet. God knows that will happen when I will try to have my child attend our neighborhood school, and that will not happen.

Our children's education should not be all about the financial bucks, and that should not be passed onto others. As a tax payer, I demand more.

WHAT IS THEIR PLAN? The Mayor has suggested in this article that there is a plan. WHAT IS IT?

What state funds are available? Do our state representatives know that Menino and his BCYF have now placed the burden of responsibility onto the state?

There is a public/ parent meeting at the Murphy Community Center on Tuesday, at 5:30 PM. I will be there. All Preschool parents should be there. Our community should be there. We all deserve more than what has been given, our children do not deserve to be put in this situation at all.

....on graduating from BLS,but anyways. Why do you care if the state picks up a portion of the cost to run Murphy Preschool? Should it matter where the money comes from as long as costs are kept away from the parents or fundraising? How does it effect you if the Mayor gets financial support from the State to help run these programs? If you are FOR the children, then do a better job hiding you're "other" agenda. Makes you look a bit small........even for a BLS grad.