As you are aware, the Collective was profoundly affected by the proliferation of Universal PreK (UPK) this year. In response to this changing landscape, the Board convened a Universal PreK subcommittee to explore the possibility of the Collective becoming a UPK site. After weeks spent this fall interviewing current UPK providers and corresponding with representatives from the NYC Department of Education, the Board subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend the Collective NOT pursue becoming a UPK site. The subcommittee shared its findings and recommendation with the full Board at last Tuesday’s (November 19) meeting; the Board then voted unanimously for the Collective not to pursue becoming a UPK site for the following reasons:
1. We would be subjected to curricular and administrative mandates and regulations that are not in sync with the philosophy and approach of the Collective.
2. We could not continue to be a parent cooperative as parents cannot be mandated to work at a full-day UPK site.
3. We would only receive $7,000-$10,000/student while our costs are about $21,000/student, thus financially jeopardizing the Collective. Even if we charged families for any “after-school hours” beyond the PreK 6-hour day, it would not be enough to recoup our losses.
4. The extra paperwork involved would most likely require the hiring of an administrative assistant, an added expense.
5. I, as director, am confident that we can continue to enroll at least 12 4-year-olds each year, which is the minimum we need to balance our budget by having at least one room a majority of 4-year-olds.
We understand that the Board’s decision has profound implications for many of our current Collective families, and we regret that we are unable to responsibly offer a free year for our 4-year-olds. But, after careful consideration of all these many financial, educational, and philosophical aspects, we believe that it is in the Collective’s best interest that we not pursue becoming a UPK site.
PS As always, please feel free to come in and discuss this decision with me. My door is always open.