Giuliani Seeks Vouchers for Summer School

Published August 1, 1999

New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani won’t let vouchers die.

Only a week after the city council killed his voucher plan for sending public school students to private schools, Giuliani proposed using vouchers to relieve overcrowded summer school classes next year by sending students to private and religious schools and to private tutoring centers.

The mayor, who had just met with Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, said his suggestion was motivated by the example of Milwaukee.

“Why not take advantage of all of the resources we have out there at least for summer school and contract with private, parochial, and educational institutions that have the capacity to educate children better?” he asked. “Let’s give kids every opportunity and every choice possible instead of having special interests closing the avenues.”

A day earlier, Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew had unveiled a plan to stop social promotions. Acknowledging the plan could send as many as 362,000 students to summer school next year, Crew warned of a looming challenge to find enough teachers and air-conditioned classrooms to accommodate them.

The chancellor is unlikely to support the mayor’s voucher proposal for the summer school program. Last year, Crew had threatened to resign when Giuliani first proposed vouchers. City schools already rent space for summer programs from private and religious schools for churches. They also contract for tutoring services from private companies during the school year.