In response to the issuance of new guidelines for the New York City Universal Pre-K program, Agudath Israel of America issued the following statement: —

Having worked closely with New York City officials over the past year in trying to make the UPK program more readily accessible to Jewish children and Jewish schools, we are gratified that the Mayor’s office has committed to making certain changes in the program designed to make it easier for Jewish schools to now become full-day UPK sponsors.

While only time will tell the extent to which these changes will result in a higher level of Jewish community participation in the UPK program, it is anticipated that additional schools will now seek to become sponsors of such programs, and that many additional children will now be able to participate. This is a meaningful step forward.

At the same time, however, even the new guidelines may not suffice for many schools and families in our community. It is critical that the city maintain a half-day option for those who feel they cannot accept full-day programing. We respectfully remind the Mayor’s office that Deputy Mayor Buery is already on record, in written communication with Rabbi David Zwiebel of Agudath Israel, dated December 1, 2014, that “there will be a half-day RFP to accommodate those families and providers for whom half-day is the best option”; and that such RFP “will be released in the near future.”