Mayor Bill de Blasio visits with prekindergarten students in lower Manhattan after releasing a new detailed report Tuesday. Credit: @BilldeBlasio/Twitter
Mayor Bill de Blasio guaranteed Tuesday afternoon that the city is ready to offer universal prekindergarten to 29,000 students.
De Blasio said that the administration secured the seats by working with schools and community groups, surpassing the original goal of 21,000 new full-day seats before fall. He revealed the numbers alongside a new report detailing how his plan would roll out pending approval from Albany.
In total, 53,600 New York City kids would be able to access full-day prekindergarten by September — when combining existing and upgraded seats. Another 20,000 seats would open following year, all of which would be spread out across 900 sites citywide.
The news was a stark shift in tone from the administration, which spent the first two months defending its plan from critics who doubt state lawmakers caught up in an election year would approve a tax hike in New York City.
"We are going to flood you with detail – we are going to give you so much detail you’re going to beg us to stop – on how we’re going to get this done," de Blasio said. "I have not seen a detailed plan from any quarter in Albany."
De Blasio said the city's plan remains feasible while providing a devoted revenue stream, which relies on a tax on residents making $500,000 or more.
"But this is something we cannot do without sustained, dedicated resources," the mayor said. "We are doing our part here in New York City. We need our friends in Albany to do their part and give us the ability to raise our own resources from our own city to get this done."