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 yearâ€™s budget, cannot be found elsewhere.
â€œI wouldnâ€™t have accepted this idea unless we were sure we could maintain the childcare,â€ said Mayor Thomas Menino Saturday, when asked to address parents fears. â€œMy wife started community centers way back when - one hundred years ago. Iâ€™ve been a big advocate for childcare.â€
He also asked, â€œWhoâ€™s driving it?â€ hinting that a particular mayoral challenger, with supporters who have had children at the school, could be stoking parental discontent. â€œI donâ€™t play politics with peopleâ€™s children,â€ he added.
â€œWhoâ€™s driving this? Hundreds of families,â€ responded John Romano, spokesperson for City Councillor and mayoral candidate Michael Flaherty. â€œFamilies are looking for results, not lip service. This program has been helping families for over 30 years. Itâ€™s a foundation for our childrenâ€™s future. Mayor Menino is failing these families and failing these children at a critical time in their lives.â€
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.