The costs of funding full day pre-kindergarten raise serious concerns in state legislatures determining budgets. In New York, the debate is ongoing. New York state includes New York City, the largest public school system in the United States.
“The current proposal in the state budget falls dramatically short of what we need here in New York City, and underscores exactly why we need a dedicated, reliable source of revenue for these critical programs,” New York City Mayor William de Blasio said in a statement.
“If we are going to truly provide every eligible 4-year old in New York City with high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten, then we must have the resources needed to actually fund these vital investments,” de Blasio added.
State education officials insisted King did not intend to suggest that Cuomo’s plan was inadequate and that his cost estimate was for a fully implemented program that’s years away.
“We share the governor’s goal of providing universal full-day pre-K statewide,” King said in a statement issued later in the day.
“The governor has proposed a significant investment in order to make that goal a reality,” he continued. “Obviously, capacity needs to be built over time. It’s not possible to provide full-day pre-K for every student in September. We’ve got to create the classroom space, identify the teachers and ensure that programs are of the highest quality possible. “
De Blasio estimates his pre-K plan will cost $340 million annually over the next five years, for a total of $1.7 billion just for city students. He intends to pay for it with a tax increase on those earning $500,000 a year or more.
Cuomo’s budget proposal calls for spending $1.5 billion over five years, with about $500 million spent in the final year. However, Cuomo has also said he was willing to provide whatever school districts needed to get the program fully implemented.
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