Facing the loss of state funding for the second year running if Pre-K seats are not filled by 10/31, the city Department of Education has decided to advertise for students online. The city system failed to qualify for $35 million last year when it fell 3,200 short.
There are 5,400 seats available, including 900 for full-day programs. All but 200 of the empty slots last year were in half-day programs (half-day programs can be ridiculously difficult to schedule childcare around. Trust me on this). A current listing of schools with open seats is here.
The city is also looking in public housing, through free healthcare services, and among teen parents enrolled in DOE programs.
UPK for all states is one of the big initiatives of Obama’s education policy. New York has had it, in theory, for over a decade, but statewide less than 40% of the eligible children are being served. Rural and suburban districts turned down $32.5 million last year because they thought programs would be too expensive.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 24, 2009