Today, OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, the non-partisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, issued the following statement regarding New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s release of 4,500 half-day Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) seats for the 2015-16 school year.
“We thank Mayor de Blasio for the decision to make available 4,5000 seats for the City’s half-day UPK program, which has served New York City’s Jewish day schools and yeshivas for 15 years. While we applaud today’s announcement by the de Blasio administration, we have serious concerns about the overall timeline for the half-day UPK program. It took nearly eight months from when the Mayor announced he would release a Request for Proposals (RFP) in December 2014, to the release of these seats just three weeks before the beginning of the school year. Many more students would have been able to participate in the half-day program had this process been as open and timely as the full-day UPK application process. We hope to work with the Mayor to rectify these issues in the future.”
Allen Fagin, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Orthodox Union, said, “Since Mayor de Blasio announced the expansion of New York City’s UPK program in January 2014, OU Advocacy-Teach NYS has actively advocated for changes to the rigid 6-hour and 20-minute full-day program instituted by the City, and for the continuance and expansion of the half-day program. We will continue to advocate for New York City’s UPK program to live up to its name and be truly universal for all of the City’s children.”