After months of discontent with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s heavy focus on free, full-day universal pre-k, local parents hoping for more diverse half-day options can find some support in a new resolution unanimously passed by School District 20’s Community Education Council (CEC 20) to allow families to choose for themselves between full and half-day options.
CEC 20’s resolution was passed unanimously at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 12 and stated that while the mayor’s 2013 campaign was committed to creating a free full-day universal pre-k for all New York City Children, the decision to “severely limit the number of half-day seats was made without consultation with the public” and that families should have the right to choose the appropriate schooling for themselves.
As this paper previously reported, while over 50,000 families had applied for free, universal full-day pre-k as of April – a sign of the program’s success, according to the mayor’s office — none of those parents was given a half-day option which some parents say they want
“The RFP (Request for Proposals) was released about two weeks ago and it’s very limited compared to the scope of the full-day,” said Andrea Stockton, a stay-at-home mother of three and creator of the “Continue to Fund Half-Day Pre-K” petition. “They haven’t told us about how many half-day programs they are actually going to approve but what they’re telling preschool directors is ‘it’s very limited and very competitive.’”
Stockton said that the RFPs for half-day programs were finally released at the beginning of May. But with only a one-year contract and 30 days to respond, unlike the terms granted to programs applying for full-day pre-k – registration for full-day programs is expected to commence in June, according to Deputy Mayor Richard Buery.
“What we as a group – the NYC Parents for Pre-k Choice as we’ve named ourselves — would like to see, would be an unlimited RFP for half-day at this point,” Stockton continued, “so that schools could continue to apply as long as for the full-day, so that it would be a three-year term instead of the one-year term, and so that going forward there wouldn’t be a cap and that it would be need –based.”
Since New York City families do not have identical needs regarding pre-k, the CEC 20 resolution requested that the city offer both full and half-day programs going into the open registration period.