A new report released today by a group of education advocates argues that allowing New York City to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for Pre-K would benefit kids across the entire state.  The report, entitled: “No Need to Choose Between Pre-K Plans: What’s Best for Children in NYS?” was prepared by the Alliance for Quality Education, the Center for Children’s Initiatives, Citizen Action of New York, the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

The report finds that, “If the Cuomo and de Blasio plans are both passed most school districts would likely receive two and one-half times more pre-K funding than they would if only the Cuomo plan is enacted. This would translate into two and one-half times as many children served by full-day pre-K outside New York City and ultimately the number of children served in high quality programs is the real measure of equity.”

That increase is possible because Governor Cuomo’s plan includes just $100 million in Pre-K spending this year, far less than what the actual annual cost of universal full-day pre-K in New York State would be, estimated as ranging between $1 billion to $1.7 billion.  By covering all of New York City’s children, Mayor de Blasio’s plan would allow state resources to be spent exclusively on children in the rest of the state.

The report notes that “the de Blasio plan would serve 53,000 New York City children this year and 74,000 next year—far more than would be served in New York City under the Cuomo plan; all at no cost to the state.

The report compares how much each County in New York State would receive in Pre-K funding through Governor Cuomo’s plan with how they would fare if both plans were put into place.  For example, Albany County would receive an estimated $875,852 for Pre-K under the Governor’s plan, but could receive $2,106,548 if both plans are enacted.

“It’s clear that New York City’s plan is a win-win for kids across the state.  Everyone benefits when the total amount of Pre-K spending is increased, and that is exactly what New York City’s plan would do,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “To maximize the number of kids who attend high-quality Pre-K, Albany show pass both plans.”

“This can be the year that we make a significant difference expanding access across the state to high quality full-day pre-K, preparing children for school and for life. The Mayor and the Governor recognize the importance of this investment and our young learners deserve this opportunity. We applaud and  support these complementary proposals,” said Nancy Kolben, Executive Director of Center for Children’s Initiatives.

“There is no dispute about the urgent need for high quality preschool, especially for New York’s most disadvantaged children. This is no time for an either/or approach. Our children need both the Mayor and Governor’s initiatives, and they need them now,” said David Sciarra, Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a project of the Education Law Center.

“Investing in high quality early childhood education, and pre-K specifically, is among the most cost effective investments a state can make to improve children’s school success and reduce disparities. And, New York’s leaders agree. Adoption of both the Governor’s and Mayor de Blasio’s complementary proposals will move New York in the right direction toward assuring that 4-year-olds across the state have access to quality full-day pre-K,” said Kate Breslin, CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

“It’s time to put our kids before politics. The best way to ensure that as many children as possible can benefit from full day pre-K is for our leaders at the Capitol to pass both plans,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York.

The full report is available at:  http://www.aqeny.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2.26.2014_Pre-K-Report1.pdf