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New York City parents protest proposed budget cuts to 3-K and pre-K child care

NYC parents push back against pre-K and 3-K budget cuts
NYC parents push back against pre-K and 3-K budget cuts 02:12

NEW YORK -- New York City parents rallied Monday outside City Hall over proposed budget cuts that would impact education in the city. 

Families are pleading with Mayor Eric Adams to fund the city's free 3-K and pre-K programs. 

Francis Raymond, 7, cried as she remembered the kindness of her public school psychologist, who helped her cope with the death of her cat. 

"She helped me through something that's very tough," Raymond said. 

She joined dozens of parents and education advocates begging Adams not to cut crucial education resources for city students. 

School psychologists, school nurses, Summer Rising, literacy programs and assistance for homeless students are among the initiatives that could lose money in the new city budget. All have been funded by pandemic-era federal stimulus, which is expiring July 1. 

"These are all programs that if we don't find funding for will be gone," one person said. 

Perhaps the most daunting resources in jeopardy of being cut are the city's free 3-K and pre-K programs. 

Veronica Ades is an OBGYN at a city public hospital, and she said her son attended free 3-K and pre-K while she paid off her massive medical school loans. 

"For my patients at a public hospital, the choice is even more stark. Many of them are financially vulnerable women of color, and they have to choose between work and child care, or send their children to unlicensed, unregulated and often less safe child care options," she said at the rally. 

New Yorkers United for Child Care says Adams has cut nearly $400 million from these programs since 2022. The city plans to cut another 14% of the budget in 2025. 

"With less than three months to go, we are here to say the time to act is now," another speaker told the crowd at the rally.

Department of Education Commissioner David Banks testified Monday inside City Hall at the Education Committee's budget hearing as city lawmakers demanded answers about how the mayor plans to save crucial programs. 

"I am fighting like heck to make sure that those cuts are restored, and I have great confidence that in the coming weeks we will have really great news around early childhood," he said. "The mayor's office, City Hall, feels that same way. And this notion that we are going to have these cuts remain in place to the detriment of our community and our parents who need it so desperately, this is a priority for me."

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams has said she will prioritize early childhood education in the upcoming budget negotiations. 

"We have delivered billions of dollars of investments in early child care and accepted nearly 13,000 child care applications through MyCity, and, as a result, every child who wants a seat gets a seat. We will continue to work with the council as we go through the budget process," a City Hall spokesperson said in a statement. 

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