City Hall, NY – The New York City Council applauded a new agreement with the Department of Education (DOE) to resolve delayed reimbursements that have threatened the operations of early childhood education programs citywide. The agreement releases key funding for the programs that more adequately reflect their contracts, and follows sustained advocacy by providers, advocates, and labor unions, with key support from Council Members. Early childhood education programs were being shortchanged payments from their contracts when the actual enrollment numbers in their invoices fell short of contract projections. Throughout the pandemic, this proved to be a significant issue – providers budgeted and hired for a projected level of enrollment based on their contracts, but were denied reimbursement payments when experiencing unforeseen enrollment declines.
Under this new agreement, providers will be guaranteed 75 percent of their contracted amount regardless of unexpected drops in actual enrollment. The payment floor will stabilize a crucial sector of the city’s economy and education system, helping retain a workforce of mostly women of color and avert the likely loss of early childhood education programs and providers.
The agreement comes two weeks after the Council’s Education Committee held a hearing and press conference on the topic. The department will also provide specialized support to help programs submit their invoices and get paid, which the Council urged.
“New York City’s early childhood education providers care for and teach our children at a critical stage in their young lives,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “This sector serves an important role in our city’s neighborhoods and local economy, while employing mostly women of color. These providers and educators deserve financial stability, and today’s agreement helps them receive the funding needed to operate their programs. As a city, we must strive to ensure our essential vendors are paid in an adequate and timely manner. This is a step in the right direction to achieve that shared objective for these vital providers of early childhood education.”
“Child care is personal to me. I would not have been able to campaign for the City Council if it were not for the kindness of family, friends, and neighbors who volunteered to watch my youngest while I knocked doors and stood outside subway stations to earn my job,” said Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Education, a former public school teacher. “With today’s announcement, we are protecting child care in New York City and helping to support child care workers, working parents, and most importantly, our children. This agreement is a major win for New York City as it provides financial stability to a sector of nonprofits that predominantly employs women who look like myself and my neighbors. While there’s still work to be done to strengthen child care in our city, this is a positive step in the right direction. I thank the advocates, providers and parents, as well as Speaker Adams, my Council colleagues, Chancellor Banks and the Department of Education for their partnership.”