Pre-K Expansion Ready, Despite Delayed Contracts

Photo c/o Beth Fertig

Photo c/o Beth Fertig

Over 50,000 children have been enrolled into NYC’s Pre-K for All since Thursday.

The free Pre-K for All initiative has been a heavily covered and invested topic for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign. While expanding free full-day Pre-K to all 4 year olds, the Mayor also invested in the training of thousands of teachers, teaching coaches , and “enrollment specialists”. Additionally, a total of $300 million towards the coming school year for New York City was part of the yearly budget according to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“More than 50,400 students are enrolled in pre-K, compared with about 20,000 last year.” Mayor de Blasio announced.

While the numbers of children enrolled point to an outstanding success, there are some concerns. In a news release on Wednesday, New York Comptroller Scott M. Stringer stated that only 141 of the 500 contracts have been delivered by the Department of Education. This is compounded by the fact that the first day of school is September 4th. Despite Comptroller Stringer’s support for the program and his office approval of most of the contracts, he did express worry.

Citing one case, the Comptroller’s office said that they discovered one vendor had six violations for failing to have personnel screened by a state agency in order to track child abuse reports. “We’re not being alarmist. We’re not trying to stop progress. But we are reminding everybody that there’s an accountability and transparency issue here that we’re going to continue to press.” said Comptroller Stringer at a press conference on Thursday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio responded back with, “We will, of course, make sure the comptroller has the documents he needs to register contracts in a timely way. We scrutinize every pre-K center the same way a parent would, because we’re parents, too.”

The deadline to enroll your 4 year old into the free Pre-K for All program is October 1st. Information can be found here.

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