Students from IS 318 have long been recognized for their outstanding afterschool programs, but threatening budget cuts had them raising funds over the weekend to try to save the programs.
With Title I status for academics, the school’s chess team also won the national championship this year and shined an overwhelming spotlight on their after-school programs, however the programs across the city have been threatened year after year with proposed budget cuts.
The school's Bring Back the Music benefit concert at Brooklyn Bowl brought out a number of local bands, some City Council members, and an audience of nearly 600 from around the borough to save the programs.
But a handshake across the East River at City Hall just may have secured the programs for another year.
“The budget agreement that we reached with the mayor will ensure that no cuts will occur to IS 318 afterschool programs,” announced Councilman Stephen Levin at the concert. “We are hopeful that we can still gain back even more slots.”
Levin joined the students on stage at the show, playing the bass guitar, but left early once he got word of the agreement.
“The Bring Back the Music Fundraiser was not only an opportunity to fund afterschool programs that are critically important for the growth and development of our kids, but also a great excuse for me to join with students in a Led Zeppelin/ZZ Top cover band,” Levin said.
Performances included the school's Jazz Band, the Guitar Ensemble/Rock Band led by Ed Healy, Pat Mahoney (of LCD Soundsystem) and Friends, the Newtown Creek Ramblers, Hugh Pool, and a special performance by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol.
Jane Pool, community volunteer and parent of an IS 318 student, helped organize the concert.
“I’m just so proud of these kids,” Pool said after the show. “I went in there in January, not really knowing what to expect, and was just amazed at the growth.”
The concert was also held in memory of late principal and District 14 superintendent Fortunado “Fred” Rubino.
Lentol dedicated his performance to Rubino, saying, “Fred Rubino put 318 on the map and he did it his way,” said Lentol, a 2007 Legislative Idol winner, before offering his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
When asked if the agreement at City Hall would secure the programs, Lentol said, “It is a handshake, but in politics a handshake is just as good as gold. I am sure the after school programs are going to be saved.”