The city's pre-K expansion plan is already underway, as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that parents can start applying for more than 4,000 new full-day pre-K spots, and that thousands more will be available later this spring. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
It looks like Mayor Bill de Blasio's pre-K victory lap is going to be a long one. After securing $300 million from Albany to expand pre-kindergarten classes in the city, the mayor is busy touting the benefits of the program.
"It will lift all boats," he said to the Association for a Better New York in a speech Wednesday. "More and more prepared children coming into our school system after pre-K will make the whole school system work better, will make the investment that we put into our schools work better for all of us."
A year and a half ago, de Blasio first proposed his universal pre-K plan in a speech to the organization.
President Barack Obama is joining in the celebration. In a statement, the White House Press Secretary said, "President Obama applauds Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for the remarkable work accomplished this week in New York, where lawmakers delivered a major victory on early childhood education."
The initial statement misspelled the mayor's name, but it was subsequently corrected.
Later in the day, the mayor announced that the city is adding nearly 4,300 new full-day pre-K seats in 140 public schools this fall. Most are in Queens and Brooklyn.
The plan is to have about 53,000 4-year-olds in pre-K this fall and 73,000 the following year.
"Think of it in terms of how you build a house. Everything depends on the foundation you lay down first. And that's what pre-k is," de Blasio said. "And it's something that now tens of thousands more families will get to experience."
The city will also be adding an additional number of full-day pre-K seats in community organizations throughout the five boroughs. Officials say we can expect to know the location of those pre-K programs in late May, with an application process to follow.
The deadline to apply for pre-K is April 23.
For more information, visit schools.nyc.gov/prek or text "pre-k" to 877877.