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3K and pre-K budget cuts driving NYC kids out of public schools, advocates say

NYC families feeling impacts of budget cuts on early child care
NYC families feeling impacts of budget cuts on early child care 03:18

NEW YORK --  Cuts to early childhood education are driving children from the New York City public school system, according to advocates.

New Yorkers United for Child Care says Mayor Eric Adams has cut an estimated  $400 million from early childcare programs since 2022. And there are plans to cut another 14% of the budget in 2025.

Early childhood education is slated to lose $170 million come July. Additionally, it is facing the expiration of one-time federal pandemic aid, which is set to end this summer - approximately $92 million in federal funding is supporting the current 3K program, with an additional $90 million allocated for special education programs.

Grand St. Settlement staff protesting budget cuts CBS New York

"No matter how amazing your reading program is, no matter how many great things you have going on in the building, but if you have no kids in the building, then we're defeating the purpose," said City Council Education Committee Chair Rita Joseph. 

"We've come together because we're deeply concerned about devastating cuts to education programs that could happen as soon as July. These are investments that we've called for for years. We've always wanted to see more social workers, and we've wanted to make sure that young children with autism get the programs and services that they need. We are glad that the city made these investments. But now the funding is going away and we absolutely need these programs to continue," said Randi Levine of Advocates for Children of New York. 

Due to budget cuts and growing class sizes, some parents have chosen to take their children out of public schools, to give their kids a more individualized education. They're turning to places like Grand Street Settlement, a community-based program that provides an alternative to public or private early childhood education. 

Nicole Muniz, Grand St Settlement Parent CBS New York

Often, community-based programs, like Grand Street, actually face even more budget cuts than public schools when the city decides to pass more cuts. 

"Our not-for-profit programs, they're hit the most and the first. When the initiative came out to build 3K, it was for public schools. Now they have no more slots and realized we have all these 3K children, and where do we go? Community based programs. We've been doing the work already. We make up where public school can't. When there's cuts, we are the first and most proactive to fix where those cuts are to supplement in the program so we don't feel it the hardest," said Grand Street site director Delisa Randall.

During a City Council hearing in March, Schools Chancellor David Banks said he was, "fighting like heck to get these cuts restored."

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