New York mayor says most new pre-kindergarten programs to open

Wed Sep 3, 2014 4:33pm EDT

New York mayor Bill de Blasio leaves during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in the Manhattan borough of New York May 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

New York mayor Bill de Blasio leaves during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in the Manhattan borough of New York May 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

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(Reuters) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday most of the city's new pre-kindergarten programs, a new initiative that was a key platform in his successful 2013 campaign, would open this year.

But nine programs will not open this year due to preparation problems, de Blasio told reporters, and 36 will not be ready to open on Thursday, the first of day of the New York City public school year. Those will be ready by Monday.

"In many of the cases, it will be just a two-day delay," said de Blasio, who added that the city had found alternate pre-kindergarten classroom seats for 125 of the 265 children enrolled in the nine programs that would not open this year.

"Every child will get a seat. That is guaranteed," he said.

De Blasio, a progressive who was the first Democrat elected as mayor of New York in two decades, had made universal, free pre-kindergarten a key element in his agenda of addressing economic disparities in the largest U.S. city.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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