Comptroller, Mayor Face Off on Pre-K Readiness

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Mayor Bill de Blasio with the father of a young girl who received a placement in a public school pre-k program.

A week before the start of school, city Comptroller Scott Stringer said today that he is concerned about safety at pre-kindergarten sites.

He said the mayor’s office is late to submit contracts with pre-k providers for his approval — he’s reviewed 141 contracts, out of more than 500, or about 28 percent. Without the contracts, he said he can’t check for fraud and corruption and ensure classroom safety.

“We cannot sacrifice safety in the name of expediency,” Stringer said in a statement.

But Mayor Bill de Blasio said city agencies including Health, Fire, Education and Investigations are reviewing pre-k sites.

“Parents can rest assured: these high-quality programs will be ready, they will be safe, and they will meet the very highest standards,” de Blasio said in a statement.

When school started last year, the comptroller had only received 22 percent of new pre-k contracts.

This year, the city has granted new contracts to pre-k centers throughout the summer, to make room for 50,000 four-year-olds to start school. 

De Blasio has said the pre-k expansion is the most critical effort of the first year of his mayoralty.