Fewer than 20 percent of school districts outside of New York City have expressed interest in expanding their pre-kindergarten programs. Critics say the number falls far short of the goals of a program billed in the state budget as universal pre-K.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York's legislative leaders are negotiating over property tax relief and pre-kindergarten funding a week before a new budget is due. Leaders emerging from closed-door talks Monday at the Capitol say they continue to make progress to get a deal by April 1.
There have been differences over how much money to devote to pre-K, a signature issue for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. There also has been legislative resistance to Cuomo's property tax relief plan, which would require localities to consolidate or share services for local homeowners to benefit.
As debate continues over how to fund universal pre-kindergarten in New York State, an Assemblymember from the Hudson Valley wants to ensure that funding for special education programs is part of the plan.
Democratic Assemblymember Didi Barrett recently sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asking for both universal pre-K and pre-K special education funding to be included in the 2014-15 state budget. She says it’s time to remove the financial burden from local governments.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to have gained the upper hand and some new allies in his policy skirmish with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over how to fund pre-kindergarten, as the fight threatens to turn into an upstate downstate split.
The debate over universal pre-kindergarten shows no signs of slowing down at the New York State Capitol. The Democratic Mayor of New York City is not backing down from his plan to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-K, while upstate and suburban Republicans in the State Senate say they will block a vote on the tax proposal.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he's prepared to write a check to fund all the costs of universal pre-kindergarten as fast as New York City can phase in the program.
Cuomo made the comments to The New York Times, a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to back down from his signature proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to expand pre-K — despite Cuomo's inclusion of alternate funding in the state budget to pay for it.
Cuomo questioned why the tax was needed if the state would fully fund pre-K.