Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference today to announce that nearly 22,000 families had signed up for universal pre-kindergarten on the first registration day—but had to confess that his administration had yet to find all the space it wants, or to vet contracts with all the necessary providers with the comptroller’s office.
Convening with top Manhattan elected officials at the Boys and Girls Harbor program in East Harlem, Mr. de Blasio trumpeted that his flagship initiative had attracted 21,938 applicants through yesterday, up from roughly 6,500 last year. The mayor, joined by Deputy Mayor for Education Richard Buery, said the program would increase by almost 20,000—from roughly 53,000 to 70,000—and add 18,000 new seats, even though it still was working to find locations for pre-K programs across the city.
“Do we have all the space we’re looking for? No. We’re still looking. We have a lot of space, but we’re continuing to look for space,” he said.