POLITICO NY: James pushes city to lower cost of child care, despite pre-K

By Eliza Shapiro

2:02 p.m. | Nov. 9, 2015

Public Advocate Letitia James released a series of recommendations Monday aimed at lowering the cost of child care in New York City, which can run families an average of $16,250 a year for infants and is increasing by about $1,600 a year.

During a City Hall press conference, James called on the city to increase the income cap to qualify for child care tax credits from $30,000 to $65,000. She also pushed for a new office of early childhood development, which would be separate from the city’s pre-kindergarten program and the Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood.

The report is occasionally critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-K program, which James has praised in the past. The program, the report states, has caused “turmoil” in the city’s early childhood work force.

James is referring to a little-noticed but significant dispute within the early childhood community about pay disparities for teachers in public schools and in community-based organizations. Public school pre-K teachers make higher salaries and get better benefits than their counterparts in CBOs, an issue pre-K advocates — and de Blasio allies — have said could threaten the entire UPK expansion.

The de Blasio administration has taken some steps to mitigate the issue, including setting aside part of the city’s pre-K budget to address the funding disparity. But CBO directors and teachers say the system needs a more fundamental change to ensure equity within the early childhood sector.

James called on the city to “ensure immediate pay equity” for early childhood teachers.

She also noted that leases for child care centers have increased over the last year, and argued that “the city has failed to properly plan for [rising costs] at sites that it leases.”

Read James’ full report here: http://politi.co/1PlaOEw



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