New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks today outlined their long-term vision for Early Childhood Education (ECE) and the rapid-response plan to stabilize the ECE sector.
To help our network of community-based ECE providers manage the effects of the pandemic and the glut of seats is some areas, Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks have committed to paying all community programs at least 75% of the value of their FY22 contracts with New York City Public Schools. In addition, NYC Public Schools and the Mayor’s Office are partnering to provide 1:1 support from a Rapid Response Team that will help community providers submit invoices and get paid promptly.
“As we settle into this administration’s first full school year, we have an incredible opportunity to make a fresh, bright start for our Early Childhood programming,” said Mayor Adams. “I cannot emphasize it enough; none of this work is possible without the partnership of our community members, childcare providers, and educators, who selflessly devote so much of their lives to our young people. Thank you to the entire school community partners who walk alongside us as we work to build a stronger Early Childhood Education system a reality for generations of New Yorkers to come.”
“This is our show of support and our investment in the network of small businesses who are our community providers—many of them family-owned programs that have risen to the call and opened up their doors to fellow New Yorkers to care for their children and to get those children connected to their education at an early age,” said Chancellor David C. Banks. “That’s an essential part of strengthening our entire school system—a bright start. And this is a critical investment in that and in a sector that is a backbone of our communities.”
“Every child across the five boroughs is our child; I am wholly committed to providing all our children with a safe, quality, and nurturing education at every turn,” said Deputy Chancellor Dr. Kara Ahmed. “This plan is part of our continuing work to support our early-childhood community so that we can provide every child and family with high-quality care and learning from birth through age 5. The science is clear: children are born learning. A full continuum of programs—starting at birth—are essential to laying a solid foundation for a great education. And that’s our vision for Early Childhood Education for New York City.”
“I’m thrilled that we have Dr. Ahmed leading the next phase of Early Childhood Education in New York City,” said Sherry Cleary, former Executive Director of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute and University Dean of the Office of Early Childhood Initiatives at CUNY. “The entire sector, and particularly the CBO sector, has been destabilized by the effects of the pandemic and by the lack of careful planning and infrastructure in the systems that Kara and her team inherited. This plan to invest and stabilize the sector is a direct result of Kara’s resolute advocacy and hard work on behalf of her staff and the network of community providers we all know are essential to our education system. Our sector and our children are in very good hands with Kara leading us forward to bring high-quality, birth-to-5 programs to families in all communities across our city.”
To stabilize the sector, all community based ECE providers will be paid at least 75% of their FY22 contract values, regardless of enrollment, when providers work with us to address outstanding invoices. To meet this important goal, we are immediately kicking off a service sprint to meet providers where they are with the resources they need to navigate the invoicing process. Currently, there is an estimated $120 million in funding for providers sitting in unsubmitted FY22 invoices.
Over the next two weeks, we are deploying a Rapid Response Team of highly experienced, cross-functional analysts and operational personnel to provide expeditious, one-to-one supports to individual providers to ensure that they can get up to date on submitting invoices and begin receiving payments. Our Rapid Response team, which will also be supported by City resources, will:
- Conduct weekly meetings until all FY22 invoices are submitted and providers are up to date on FY23 invoices;
- Provide 1:1 virtual support session,
- Provide personalized in-person visit to the providers’ workplace,
- Meet providers at a borough office near their place of residence or work for scheduled support sessions.
With these new structures in place, we will ensure that providers are supported in staying up to date on invoice submission and process all invoices within 30 days of receipt, moving forward. We are also conducting a comprehensive, community-based analysis of seat demand which will be used to drive the future allocation of infant, toddler, 3K and Pre-K seats, inclusive of students with disabilities. This assessment is projected to be completed by spring of next year.
Since January, we have been working to better support our providers by re-allocating empty seats to better meet community and family needs, and expediting invoice payments, but many of our providers are still grappling with financial stress created by the pandemic and a surplus of PreK and PreK and 3K seats, in many neighborhoods. Our early childhood programming relies on a network of nearly 1,000 community-based providers, many of which are small non-profits run by women of color. These providers are our partners in this work but have been financially strained by the lack of adequate support and misallocation of seats across the city of the previous administration, resulting in under-enrollment, which destabilized early childhood programming across the five boroughs.
By actively addressing outstanding payment issues in our system, we are creating the capacity needed to pivot our focus to providing high quality, safe early childhood program for more of our youngest learners. Through this work NYC Public Schools will:
- Build a comprehensive ECE program that sees and caters to all our children, with a focus on serving children with special-education needs.
- Address funding concerns presented by the previous administration’s use of one-time federal stimulus money to expand 3K seats.
- Work with our ECE providers to address any gaps in our current PreK/3K seat distribution to better meet the needs of our communities.
- Reform and address concerns around the procurement and contracting process that is cumbersome, time-consuming, and overly complex.
Find out more about Mayor Eric Adams here.