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In advance of Monday's hearing, parents rally to prevent cuts to New York City's preschool program

In advance of Monday's hearing, parents rally to prevent cuts to NYC's preschool program
In advance of Monday's hearing, parents rally to prevent cuts to NYC's preschool program 02:12

NEW YORK -- Families are pushing for the city to reverse course on cutting funding to early childhood education programs.

On Monday morning, the City Council Education Committee will be holding a budget hearing.

Two-year-old twins Ruben and Isidro Moreno-Coplon are currently enrolled in a family day care, so mom and dad can pursue their nonprofit careers.

"It is like a college tuition's worth that we pay in child care," Sam Moreno-Coplon said.

Moreno-Coplon is part of New Yorkers United for Child Care, which says Mayor Eric Adams has made almost $400 million in cuts to pre-k and 3-k programs since 2022.

She and her husband, a Flatbush native, moved to the city thinking when the boys turn 3 they could enter the free 3-k program. The city plans to cut another 14% of the budget in 2025.

"What that has meant is fewer seats. Day care centers have to close. It means we have less outreach, so there are parents who don't know we have the option of free quality 3-k. Families are spending at least $20,000 a year per kid for child care and that's not sustainable," said Rebecca Bailin, executive director New Yorker United for Child Care.

"My wife and I had a baby about nine months ago. We're paying significantly more for day care then we do for our rent and our rent is already too high," Chris Maisano said.

On Sunday, volunteers collected signatures across all five boroughs to petition the mayor to reverse the cuts and provide universal child care to children under 5.

Councilwoman Rita Joseph is chair of the Education Committee.

"Those seats allow parents to go back to school. They allow parents to work. They allow parents to do certain things. By taking away those seats, we know who that impacts the most -- women," Joseph said.

The Education Committee chair said she, too, does not want to see any cuts to early childhood education, adding the city hasn't even released a report from an outside firm on 3-k and pre-k enrollment.

"We have not received the report, so I was puzzled as to why there was such a huge cut to early childhood when we have not gotten the data to say where we need to move seats, what type of seats should we have," Joseph said, "and there are certain areas we have wait lists, and then you have certain areas that have openings."

"There's already such a wide gap in education opportunities for kids in this city and all kids deserve any other opportunity there is," Moreno-Coplon said.

A report from the city said pre-k and 3-k programs are seeing a combined 30% vacancy rate.

The mayor's office did not return CBS New York's request for comment.

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