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Big questions remain as New York City rushes to let charter schools open pre-K programs

Mayor Bill de Blasio visits Pre-K class at P.S. 239 with Chancellor Carmen Fariña. (Photo: Rob Bennett)

Mayor Bill de Blasio visits Pre-K class at P.S. 239 with Chancellor Carmen Fariña. (Photo: Rob Bennett)

The city is racing to allow charter schools to tap into new state funds allotted for its ambitious pre-kindergarten expansion plan. But charter leaders are now waiting for answers to a number of thorny logistical questions that may determine whether they try to open pre-K programs at all.

At issue are how charter schools will get money to pay for pre-K facilities, whether pre-K students will be allowed to skip the admissions lottery to return for kindergarten, and how those pre-K programs will be approved. Those questions were the subject of a meeting last Thursday between city officials and charter school leaders at the Department of Education headquarters.

Those answers are significant, said charter school leaders who attended the meeting, because they were told that the applications for pre-K programs would be released today and due back to the city in just two weeks—as early as May 12. In an acknowledgment that many issues have yet to be ironed out, officials said Sunday that they were now hoping the request for proposals would be released later in the week.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions, so there was trepidation,” said Kathleen Mone, a member of the board member at Ethical Community Charter School in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “But on the other hand, we all want to help these kids as early as we can.”

Read the full story on Chalkbeat New York.

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