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Queens Chronicle

Not enough pre-K seats, de Blasio says

Only half of boro registrants go full day

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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:17 am, Thu Mar 21, 2013.

A report from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio warns the number of pre-kindergarten seats in the city is far below the demand — and Queens is where some of the biggest needs exist.

DeBlasio’s report, released on March 4, says demand outnumbers need by more than 3 to 1 in every borough, with the highest being roughly 5 to 1 in Manhattan and Queens.

The disparity leaves parents struggling to secure a seat for their child at their preferred program or fail to secure any spot at all, de Blasio said.

“The shortage of high-quality, full-time pre-K seats is hurting thousands of families in every borough. We can’t continue to be a city where only a fraction of our kids has access to early education, and where working parents have to roll the dice every year and hope they’re lucky enough to secure a seat. It’s 2013, and it’s time for truly universal pre-K in New York City,” de Blasio, also a Democratic candidate for mayor this year, said.

According to the report, Queens has the second-highest number of applicants per seat, with only Manhattan recording higher numbers, but by a very small amount. Half of all kids registered in school-based pre-K in Queens are in full day programs

De Blasio’s report said three districts in Queens — District 24, which includes neighborhoods from Corona to Ridgewood; District 25, based in Flushing; and District 26, centered in Bayside and eastern Queens — have the highest number of applicants per seat in the borough. District 24 is also the most overcrowded school district in the city.

Of the 68,000 children eligible for full-day pre-K in New York City, only 20,000 receive it, the report says.

De Blasio has proposed funding universal pre-K for all city children through an income tax increase on New Yorkers earning $500,000 or more.

Pre-K admissions for 2013 opened on Monday.

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