45 Pre-K Programs Delayed or Canceled Due to Safety Concerns, Officials Say

By Amy Zimmer and Trevor Kapp  on September 3, 2014 10:00am  | Updated on September 3, 2014 2:37pm

 The opening of 45 city-funded pre-K programs has been canceled or put on hold because of oversight and permitting issues, the DOE said.
The opening of 45 city-funded pre-K programs has been canceled or put on hold because of oversight and permitting issues, the DOE said.
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Shutterstock/Diego Cervo

MIDTOWN — The city is shutting down nine pre-K programs that were slated to launch on Thursday and is delaying the opening of 36 others because of safety concerns and other issues, Department of Education officials said.

The last-minute decision to cancel and postpone the city-backed pre-K programs, which are a cornerstone of Mayor Bill de Blasio's education agenda, came as fire and building inspectors deemed some of the facilities unsafe for small children, DOE officials said.

The FDNY and Department of Buildings will complete about 400 additional inspections this week, in advance of the first day of school on Thursday.

The nine sites that were shut down would have served about 265 preschoolers. The DOE has called, emailed and texted parents of those children to alert them to the change and will work to provide an alternative spot for each child, officials said. So far, 125 of the kids have been re-enrolled elsewhere.

Parents were notified on Sunday and Monday, and all of them have gotten at least two calls from the DOE, a city official said.

Most of the 36 programs that have been delayed will open next Monday instead of this Thursday, but some may be delayed longer.

The programs are run by community-based preschools, not public schools, and must be inspected by the Department of Health, Department of Buildings, Department of Education and FDNY to ensure they meet the city's safety and educational standards, officials said.

So far, more than 50,000 children have signed up for full-day pre-K this year.

The pre-K programs that will not open this year are:

► Child Development Support Corporation (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)

► Rainbow Afterschool Program (Clason Point, Bronx)

► Birch Family Services Center (East Flatbush, Brooklyn)

► Manhattan Early Childhood Center (Washington Heights)

► Queens Early Childhood Center (Springfield Gardens, Queens)

► Watson Avenue Early Childhood Center (Parkchester, Bronx)

► Rainbow Montessori (East Bronx)

► Alpha Academy (Jamaica, Queens)

► Rising Stars Islamic School (Jamaica, Queens)

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