Mayor Bill de Blasio continued his rollout of expanded pre-K today, visiting P.S. 1 on the Lower East Side. Joined by Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, who represents the district, de Blasio held a press conference and then visited a pre-K class.
Topics in the Q&A included the source of money for the City’s planned pre-K advertising campaign, the City’s target number of pre-K applicants, whether Speaker Silver thinks the proposed income tax surcharge should be pursued next year, how the pre-K selection process will work, how the City will cover the approximately $40 million annual gap between the estimated cost of pre-K and the amount provided in the state budget, when parents will learn whether their pre-K application has been accepted, how the City will collect data and measure success of the pre-K program, whether the existing pre-K application process will be changed, how the City will use money from the anticipated school bond issue, the mayor’s reaction to a 2nd Circuit ruling that City may bar religious groups from renting after-hours space in public schools, the status on a proposed restaurant in Union Square, a tax break included in the state budget that provides millions of dollars to a Bronx condominium project, the “shop & frisk” meeting today between the Rev. Al Sharpton and Police Commissioner Bratton and a pending HPD case against a Brooklyn landlord.
Update – Future Income Tax Surcharge?:
Andrew Siff, of WNBC-TV, asked Speaker Silver whether he believes the legislature should try again next year to pass the income tax surcharge proposed by the mayor. Here’s how he responded:
Update #2 – Silver, Henry Street & Pre-K:
Although Speaker Silver was a key part of including pre-K funding in the state budget, his personal history was a bit off-message today.
Fresh off of securing pre-K funding in the state budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio pivoted to the next phase of his pre-K initiative with a visit to Ridgewood’s P.S. 239 aimed at encouraging parents to register for fall 2014 enrollment. Among those joining de Blasio for a press conference following the mayor’s tour of the school; Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYS Senator Mike Gianaris, Council Member Danny Dromm and Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
Bratton & Police Morale:
During the Q&A portion of the press conference, Newsday’s Emily Ngo asked de Blasio about Police Commissioner Bratton’s recent statement on NYPD morale and his attribution of responsibility for it to former Commissioner Ray Kelly. Here’s how de Blasio responded:
Update – Full Q&A:
On topic questions included the application process for admission to the pre-K program, whether the website and other enrollment tools have been sufficiently tested, how applicants will be chosen or assigned to specific pre-K spots, how the public schools hosting expanded pre-K will be chosen, how the space sharing arrangements between new pre-K classes and existing classes will be managed, the role of charter schools in providing new pre-K seats, whether pre-K students may also enroll in after school programs and whether parents applying for public school pre-K spots should refrain from also applying for community based organization pre-K spots. Off topic questions included Commissioner Bratton’s statement regarding NYPD morale, whether the mayor agrees with parents opting out of Common Core testing and whether such opt outs may skew the test data, the process for parents wishing to opt out of Common Core testing, specialized high school entrance exams and the mayor’s actions concerning raising the minimum wage.
Here is the full press Q&A:
This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded his “Ready to Launch” effort on universal full day pre-K, issuing an update on the substantial logistics required for a September 2014 implementation. Speaking at P.S. 130 in Little Italy, de Blasio was joined by Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, OMB Director Dean Fuleihan, ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion, Executive Director of the DOE Office of Early Childhood Education Sophia Pappas and DOE Chief Strategy Officer Josh Wallack.
de Blasio made a statement and issued a report describing his administration’s efforts at identifying potential sites for new or expanded pre-K classes throughout the city. He appeared to be energetically continuing his efforts at funding his pre-K program by obtaining state approval of an income tax surcharge on high earners, despite Governor Cuomo’s public rejection.
Q&A topics include: why the mayor and Governor Cuomo appear friendly and cooperative on pre-K when together but express different views when apart, will the city fund a single year of full day pre-K if the state does not, how many of the prospective new pre-K seats are in traditional public schools v. charter schools, what is the greatest challenge in converting existing 1/2 day pre-K sites into full day sites, how can the mayor assure that proceeds of his proposed income tax surcharge would remain dedicated solely to the pre-K/middle school program, regulatory issues around pre-K operators, how there can be space available in neighborhoods where schools are overcrowded, how many of the prospective new sites are in schools v. other locations, why the mayor is so opposed to co-locations of charter schools while seeking to co-locate new pre-K programs, the newly-announced ad campaign by charter school supporters, his views on academically screened high schools, his view on the school bus contracts, why he refused off-topic questions Friday evening despite saying on Friday morning that he would take such questions, the status of 28 charter schools expecting to open in fall 2014 in locations approved by the Bloomberg administration, his upcoming appearance on the TV series The Good Wife and his view on city employees marching in the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade in uniform/with banners.
Update – Standing Apart:
A brief clip of Mayor de Blasio and a reporter who chose to “stand apart from everyone.”
Update #2 – The Good Wife:
Mayor de Blasio discussed his upcoming appearance on the CBS TV series The Good Wife, saying that he and his wife “are deeply obsessed with The Good Wife.”