De Blasio Will Accept State Money for Pre-K After All

March 14, 2014

Even as he came under escalating attacks from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature for his stance toward charter schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday stepped closer to securing state financing to expand prekindergarten in New York City.

The progress came with a caveat: Instead of a tax increase on wealthy residents that he said was the only reliable source of funding, the mayor’s prekindergarten plan appears almost certain to be financed with state money. At the same time, he came under heightened pressure over charter schools from lawmakers, whose budget proposals threaten to erode his powers under mayoral control of the public schools.
The State Senate, which Republicans and a faction of Democrats control, on Thursday proposed spending $540 million a year for five years on free full-day prekindergarten and after-school programs in the city.
Even before the Senate proposal had been released publicly, Mr. de Blasio issued a statement heralding it as a victory — although the plan also offered another sign that the tax increase he desired had moved further and further from reality. Now, after months of asking lawmakers for permission to raise taxes, the mayor and his allies are increasingly focused on winning as much state funding as possible during budget negotiations, and the mayor praised Senate leaders for their proposal.
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