New York City closes 9 universal pre-kindergarten centers

Posted: Updated:

The Department of Education has announced that some universal pre-kindergarten centers it was previously contracted with will not be opening this school year.

With just hours to go before the start of school, Mayor Bill de Blasio closed nine universal pre-K centers, three of them in the Bronx, due to health and safety concerns.

De Blasio said the central focus is making sure the sites are safe before students arrive.

Parents News 12 spoke with say they are frustrated with the situation, and would like more answers regarding the decision.

The Rainbow Montessori Academy in Throgs Neck is one school whose contract was revoked.

Bruce Rivera, a parent whose 4-year-old son was registered to start at the academy, will now have to find him another program.

Rivera says over Labor Day weekend he received a text from the DOE telling him to find another location for his son.

School Director Nilda Gibson says she doesn't know why the DOE decided to pull the plug on its universal pre-K program at her center.

Gibson, who runs two Rainbow locations, says 30 kids in total are affected by the decision.

She says the Department of Investigations visited the school in August, which is standard procedure. Gibson says there was a discrepancy regarding time sheets in the after-school program.

She says she never heard from the city, and learned from parents that her center's contract for universal pre-K was revoked by the DOE.

The center is still licensed to run universal pre-K, but parents will now have to pay for the program, which Gibson says is close to $300 a week.

She says she has since submitted paperwork to the DOE, and her case is under review.

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