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Mayor de Blasio Announces Record-Breaking 70,000 Families Will Be Offered Pre-K Seats This Week

June 8, 2015

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82 percent of parents will get one of their top-three choices, 70 percent will get their top choice

Thousands more pre-K Seats will be available in June for round two of applications

Free, full-day, high-quality pre-K saves parents $10,000 in childcare costs

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that in the first round of pre-K offers, 69,393 applicants will receive an offer for free, full-day, high-quality pre-K later this week. Because of strong planning to match available seats with family demand, 70 percent of families will be awarded their top choice program and 82 percent of families will get one of their top 3 choices. Every family that applied will receive an offer, and there will be thousands of new seats available for the next round of admissions later this month.

The Mayor made the announcement at P.S. 5, The Ellen Lurie School, in Washington Heights where he handed offers of admission to Olivio Capellan and his four children to attend pre-K this fall. Each of the four children received an offer to P.S. 5, where programs specifically focus on helping children whose parents are immigrants to develop English language skills.

Families big and small flocked to pre-K this year, including 1,113 sets of twins and 22 sets of triplets who applied for and will receive offers to pre-K. Parents with children enrolled in free, full-day pre-K save an average of $10,000 annually on childcare costs.

“This is a proud moment for us all, and it’s an exciting one for tens of thousands of parents whose children are about to start out on the right path in life. Pre-K for All is the centerpiece of our agenda to confront inequality in our city, and come September, every family seeking a seat for their child will have one for the very first time,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We want parents to know there are more opportunities ahead. We have thousands more seats coming online in the weeks ahead and another round of applications right around the corner. We will work with every parent one-on-one to find the right program for their child.”

“Pre-K for All is an investment in the next generation of leaders across our city. Through this additional year of learning, children will explore with science projects, learn new vocabulary words, develop social skills and bring their parents into the classroom as partners. This expansion is a critical part of my focus on 2nd, 7th, and 10th grades, and an integral part of lifting up our entire school system,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “The streamlined enrollment process simplified the application for families, and I’m thrilled by the turnout we’ve seen. Families want to send their child to pre-K, and we are delivering free, full-day, high-quality programs across the city.”
“We want every parent to know that this week is only the beginning of the process, and there are more seats opening up every day and more opportunities to apply. Every family will have one-on-one support to walk them through the process and find the right program. We are working night and day to ensure that come September, we meet our goal of providing every family seeking free, full-day, high-quality pre-K with a great option that works for them,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery.

For the first time, the DOE launched a streamlined enrollment process this year that allowed families to apply for pre-K in both district schools and NYC Early Education Centers through one easy-to-fill-out single application. Families were able to easily review all options available to them and rank up to 12 choices on their applications. Previously, parents were required to fill out separate applications – on two separate timelines – for district schools and Early Education Centers. On Wednesday, June 10, families will receive a single offer to their highest possible program choice based on the admissions priorities for district schools and early education centers. Families who did not receive their first choice will be placed on a waitlist at every program they listed higher than the offer they received.

A second round of applications begins June 22. All families – including those who receive offers Wednesday – are eligible to reapply in the second round. More than 1,700 new seats have been added to the pre-K directory in recent days, and thousands more will be added prior to the next round of applications. Families who apply in the second round who received an offer on June 10 do not forfeit their original offer, and students will remain on waitlists at the schools where they have applied.

Families can apply in one of three ways: online at, over the phone by calling 311, or in person at one of the DOE’s 12 Family Welcome Centers. The application will be translated into nine languages, and additional translation services are available over the phone in more than 200 languages.

“Early childhood education helps put our children on the pathway to success,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I'm thrilled with the success of Pre-K for All and encourage all parents to enroll their children in one of the City’s high-quality, full-day programs.”

“Introducing universal pre-K was an historic achievement – but also the beginning of a monumental undertaking,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “These numbers show we’re on the right track. There’s plenty more we need to do, but we’re on our way to truly universal, accessible pre-K with enough seats in every neighborhood.”

“Through Mayor de Blasio’s vision and the Assembly’s leadership, community-based universal pre-kindergarten has become a reality in our city,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.   

“This year more students will be entering pre-K and more parents will be able to go back to work or school than ever before,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education. “This is an important step for the future of our city. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for hitting this milestone.”

“Step one of rerouting our children to college is early education. I could not be more excited to hear about Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of 70,000 families that will receive the essential resources they need to ensure that their child will be more likely to graduate from high school, own their own homes, have their own savings accounts and go on to lead more productive lives. For me there is no better place to make this announcement then right here in a district where we are working hard with this Administration to ensure our city’s children are prepared to be successful in college," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Mayor de Blasio has shown what government can do. He took on an issue no one thought could be solved, and by bringing everyone together – parents, teachers, community and business leaders, clergy – got the job done,” said Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers.

"This is another sign of how school leaders have worked effectively with the DOE on making sure UPK works for every child. Everyone involved agrees on the importance of the program in uplifting educational performance throughout the system,” said CSA President Ernest Logan.

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