Lawmakers still debate universal pre-kindergarten program in state budget

Posted at: 03/21/2014 6:00 PM
Updated at: 03/21/2014 9:21 PM

Lawmakers are still debating the state budget and News10NBC learned one of the sticking points is the universal pre-kindergarten program.

Officials say some lawmakers are concerned about how the state will pay for the program. Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said following closed door meetings Friday morning that certain participants were concerned only about New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio when it comes to pre-K.

De Blasio wants to pay for citywide pre-K with a tax increase on the wealthy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate Republicans both oppose the tax hike.

The program would make it mandatory for students to attend all day Pre-K throughout the state.

Right now, only a few school districts in our area offer the program.

News10NBC spoke with Assemblyman Joe Morelle about the budget talks Friday afternoon.

Assemblyman Joe Morelle, Majority Leader, said, “I think there's nothing in my mind that can't get worked out over the next few days and my hope is that we would have the budget bills printed and be able to observe the three day period for folks to be able to look at them. And still get done by the end of the fiscal year.”

The deadline for the budget is April 1.