On Monday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio released the details of his plan to make full-day pre-kindergarten available to all four-year-olds across New York City for free. Starting in September 2014, the program will be available for 53,604 children; in September 2015, it will expand to serve 73,250 children.
The Mayor released the report before heading to Albany, where he will pitch the program to lawmakers. De Blasio will have to convince folks in the capital that his program, which relies on a tax, is a better alternative than the statewide program Governor Cuomo proposed earlier this month.
Cuomo has proposed using existing state funds, but critics of the governor’s plan say $1.5 billion over five years is not enough to fund pre-kindergarten across New York state. The mayor’s plan would be paid for by a tax on New Yorkers making more than $500,000 a year.
The Mayor’s Office estimates the program, which calls for 2,000 new classrooms across the city, will cost an average of $10,239 per child, or about $340 million annually.
That’s a good deal, if the studies that show every $1 invested in universal preschool ultimately returns between $3 and $6 to taxpayers are correct.
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