New Universal Pre-K Facility Serving 90 Families Opens on the Upper Side
The new Site located at 1683 3rd Avenue Street Opens its Doors after years of Advocacy from Council Member Kallos and local Parents for more UPK Seats
Upper East Side, NY- The New York City Department of Education and Council Member Ben Kallos opened the doors to 90 Pre-K students today as the newest Pre-K Center opened on the Upper East Side.
The newly built Pre-Kindergarten facility is located at 1683 3rd Avenue Street. The new site opened last week for the first day of school, and is currently serving 90 new Pre-K for All students. This facility is part of the City’s new push to build and open more Pre-Kindergarten seats on the Upper East Side after years of public advocacy from Council Member Ben Kallos and local parents to the Department of Education to fulfill the area’s need and live up to the promise of Pre-Kindergarten for all children in New York City.
The new 11,492 square foot site was constructed in partnership with Extell Development Company. The facilities will be on the ground floor of an 83-unit, 30-story new residential building in heart of the East 90s.
For the 2017-18 school year, 736 families applied for a total of 550 Pre-Kindergarten spots on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. The unmet demand forced parents to consider enrolling their children in Pre-Kindergarten sites as far away as downtown Manhattan. This push by the City to increase the number of Pre-Kindergarten seats in Council District 5 includes another new center that is currently serving 140 students on East 57th, and a 180-seat site on East 76th street that will open in Fall 2019, totaling more than 400 new Pre-K seats.
Neighboring Council Member Keith Powers attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, he has been supportive in the effort to increase the number of Pre-K seats available on the Upper East Side. Mayor Bill de Blasio originally announced these new seats in January 2018 as part of Fiscal Year 2018 Executive Budget.
Since 2014 following reporting by WNYC that Yorkville, Lenox Hill and Roosevelt Island had 2,118 four-year-olds and only 123 Pre-Kindergarten seats Council Member Ben Kallos has worked to bring new seats to the district. Some of the ways his office has done this include identifying parents with four-year-olds who pledged to send their children to Universal Pre-Kindergarten, working with schools and providers to become Pre-Kindergarten locations, and working with the Department of Education through the application process to open more seats in the 5th Council District on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.
"We are now taking big strides in fulfilling the need for Pre-K seats on the Upper East Side. Building by building we are working with the City to open up more pre-kindergarten seats so that every four-year-old in my district can get the benefits of Pre K without having to commute an hour away," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Thank you the School Construction Authority for the work on the facility and to the Department of Education for helping us get this new facility open and serving the community.”
“Access to childcare is crucial for NYC families and I am so pleased that an additional Pre-K site has opened its doors to serve our community here on the Upper East Side. I applaud Council Member Kallos, the School Construction Authority, and the Department of Education for getting this program up and running, “said Congress Member Carolyn Maloney.
“I’m so pleased to see another Pre-K site opening on the Upper East Side. Universal Pre-K is a groundbreaking and vital program for New York families, so we must ensure that we have enough seats available in every neighborhood to truly live up to the promise of universality. This new site is a great step in the right direction,” said State Senator Liz Krueger
“The demand for Universal Pre-K seats demonstrates the value and the success of this program,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We must work together every year to meet the need, so every child receives the boost that pre-K provides and every family can find an accessible pre-K seat in their community.”
“The School Construction Authority knows how important this Pre-Kindergarten site is to the Upper East Side and we appreciate Council Member Kallos’ efforts here. The School Construction Authority is dedicated to innovatively designing and constructing the much-needed Pre-K seats throughout the City,” said SCA President & CEO Lorraine Grillo.
“With the opening of a new universal pre-K site at 200 East 95th Street, the City continues our investment in our districts’ youngest learners. The expansion of universal pre-K seats on the Upper East Side provides critical, high-quality early education for four-year-olds. Credit to Council Member Kallos for this important accomplishment and I thank the Department of Education for continued efforts with this successful program,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
“The research is clear: free, full-day, high-quality early education is crucial to students’ future success,” said District 2 Superintendent Bonnie Laboy. “Every year, four-year-olds are going to have a great start to their educational career in this new facility, and I thank the Council Member, SCA, and Superintendent for their ongoing partnership.”
On April 30th, 2017 Council Member Kallos organized and led a rally at St Catherine’s Park on the Upper East Side which was attended by dozens of local parents and their four-year-olds who did not have a Pre-K seat in the district. At that same rally where Council Member Kallos called on the City to build more Pre-K seats on the Upper East Side the support of Citywide elected officials like Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James who were in attendance was won. State Senator Liz Krueger, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright all spoke at the event lending their voices in support to the cause. Former Council Member Dan Garodnick also spoke on behalf of his district which is now represented by Council Member Keith Powers who also attended.