Today Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, for an event focused on the mayor’s pre-K initiative. They met at the Catherine Corry Academy at Saint Francis of Assisi School in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, visiting a classroom and then holding a joint press conference. The Archdiocese, which runs its own extensive school system, has proposed providing 1,700 seats for the City’s expanded pre-K program.
To the audible consternation of the press, the mayor took on-topic questions only. (Although WCBS-TV’s Marcia Kramer did manage to shoehorn in a charter school question.) At the conclusion, the mayor’s about-to-be-smooth exit stage left was stymied as Cardinal Dolan moved stage right to say hello to Council Members Andy King and Andrew Cohen. de Blasio ignored continued questions and joined Dolan, smiling, leaving a moment later without taking any on-topic questions.
Questions asked included whether Cardinal Dolan supports the income tax surcharge that is part of the mayor’s plan, what the 1,700 seats offered by the Archdiocese are currently used for, pending education tax credit bills, how the mayor expects to get his pre-K plan approved despite continuing disagreement with Governor Cuomo, guidelines governing church/state separation, how enough sufficiently-credentialed teachers can be in place for September and whether the pressure over his charter school actions is causing Mayor de Blasio to change his views. Here is the full Q&A:
N.B. An in-depth look at their relationship is here.