Spring Valley summer camp in jeopardy after budget cuts

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Dozens of children in Rockland County may have to change their summer plans after the Spring Valley Village Board cut funding for a low-cost camp.

The Village Board approved $52,500 in funding for the Martin Luther King Center summer camp but that's almost $30,000 less than what was originally proposed.

The cut in funding is a major blow to the MLK Center, which has already accepted 80 children into the program.

"I'm very disappointed in the insensitivity of the mayor," said Dr. Winston Downy Rainford, president, of the MLK Center.

The summer camp in question would run from July 2 through Aug. 10 and would cost parents less than $400. It would provide children ages 5 to 13 two meals a day, playtime and two hours of educational instruction.

At a board meeting Monday, several trustees declined to vote on the issue.

Spring Valley Mayor Alan Simon said the program would receive a certain amount of money and whether the camp operates with the money that is given to them is not the village's responsibility.

"We plan to fund them and we had planned from the very beginning to fund them," Simon said. "The problem is we must fund every area in the village and one cannot dominate the other."

The board's decision was not unanimous. They also approved an equal amount of funding for the town of Ramapo's summer camp, but trustee Sherry McGill said it’s not fair to treat the two programs as equals.

"The Martin Luther King Center is a not-for-profit organization," McGill said. "They are not bringing in revenue like that, they are just trying to stay above water. They need our help."

MLK Center leaders now need to raise the rest of the money or cut the number of children accepted into the program.

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