Lawmakers eye universal pre-K in state budget

Mosaic Pre-K Center in Queens in 2020.

Mosaic Pre-K Center in Queens in 2020. Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office

New York state lawmakers are expected to expand universal, full-day pre-kindergarten across the state in this year’s budget, which has been delayed by several days, Gannett Albany reports. 

More than half of all 4-year-olds in New York attend pre-K, along with 2% of the state’s 3-year-olds. Given that New York City already provides universal pre-K, an expansion would be of greater benefit to other parts of the state.

The proposal would likely be funded in part by a deal being discussed to raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers, which would generate about $5 billion a year in revenue. Also on the table in this year’s budget is a huge boost to education spending and $2.4 billion in aid for landlords and tenants in need of help.

But plenty is still up in the air until the budget deal is actually finalized. State elected officials have blown past the April 1 deadline and risk delaying paychecks to state workers if they continue to do so. A few sticking points have emerged in negotiations in the past several days, including mobile sports betting and the creation of a fund to aid workers excluded from federal benefits.