The plan would also aggressively expand after-school learning opportunities for nearly 120,000 middle school students, adding new programs between 3 and 6 p.m. in academics, culture and athletics.
Last week, New York Communities for Change (NYCC) invited elected officials and families to Brooklyn Borough Hall, where they discussed the issue. NYCC members Cynthia Macias and Celia Green said they are in favor of universal pre-k because it makes it easier on parents that work and ultimately will benefit children long term.
Council members Carlos Menchaca, Inez Barron and Stephen Levin and Assemblyman James Brennan also spoke in support of universal pre-k. The sooner children are in school, the better prepared they will be for life, Brennan said.
“We are on the cusp of winning a major and important societal goal for the children of the city of New York,” he said.
The city is calling for a five-year, 1 percent income tax increase on residents earning over $500,000, which would yield approximately $530 million in new revenue each year, to fund the program.
Levin said he has fought every year since getting elected for universal pre-k, but he said with the new mayor supporting the cause, the city is in a unique and fortunate position.
“We spoke with our voters and this is what we the city want to see done,” Levin said. “What we’re asking for is a simple thing. Let us tax ourselves to fund this.”