With classes getting underway for the 2014-15 school year, Stringer announced that his office has only received contracts for 141 of the 500 slated UPK providers, and warned that the safety of the thousands of children enrolled in the program could be on the line.
“Universal Pre-K holds the promise of transforming our city’s educational process, which is why we have to get it right,” said Stringer. “But we cannot sacrifice safety in the name of expediency.”
With a continued push for an additional 3,000 children to reach a total of 53,000 students in universal pre-K, Mayor bill de Blasio addressed Stringer’s recent comments and assured that safety and security is at the forefront.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” de Blasio said. “If the question is health and safety, I think it’s quite evident we’re focused and we’ve got a lot of serious professionals on it.”
Stringer added that many of the contracts he already received included other errors such as missing permits, inconsistent counts of students on multiple documents, and vendors not up to date with filing requirements.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said the problem with unsigned contracts at the beginning of the school year has “traditionally always been an issue.”
“As deputy chancellor under the former administration, I can tell you that we certainly started school with a large percentage of contracts that we knew were going to be signed ultimately, but were not signed at that time,” Fariña said. “So, this is not new. It’s not news.”