NEW YORK (PIX 11) — It was the centerpiece of his campaign, a pledge to make per-kindergarten free and universal for all four-year-olds in the city. Just weeks before he’s scheduled to take office, the Mayor-Elect began laying the groundwork to implement a plan that will first require the approval of the state legislature.
He tore a page from Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia by sitting down and reading to kids. Not the funnies, but from one of their favorite reading books. The kids at the Northside Center for Child Development in East Harlem were captivated as deBlasio read passages from “Where The Wild Things Are.” He visited the school to talk about his planned Pre-K expansion, and to announce a six-member team that will help him implement what he described as the largest pre-k expansion in thje nation’s history. “We have the opportunity to achieve this and we are going to make it happen,” he declared.
Under de Blasio’s plan, full pre-k enrollment will grow from 20,000 to 68,000. To fund the program, he will place a tax on millionaires. That is something that first must be approved by the legislature.
The Mayor-Elect is optimistic, noting, “We have the support to make this happen.” He said he has met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who gave him an enthusiastic response. He also claims to have support in the State Senate.
De Blasio has yet to announce any major appointments to his administration, key among them a new police commissioner. Some anticipated an announcement Tuesday.
The same sources who told me last week they expect his choice to be former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, are still confident he is the choice. I attempted to ask de Blasio about it, but he didn’t take my question. He has scheduled a couple of news conferences this week, and one of them is expected to be the long anticipated announcement of a new top cop.