Mayor de Blasio announced Monday that he wants to extend his pre-K program — promising free full-day child care for all city 3-year-olds by 2021.
He just doesn’t know how to pay for it.
Hizzoner said it would cost about $1.1 billion annually, and offered to put up an additional $177 million on top of the $200 million the city is already spending on seats for low-income families with 3-year-olds.
But de Blasio expects that the remaining roughly $700 million would come from the state and federal governments — where he has few friends and little clout.
De Blasio noted that he had not yet gotten around to broaching the matter with political frenemy Gov. Cuomo.
And any such solicitation would come amid a ferocious feud with President Trump, with whom he has been exchanging insults for months.
The mayor said he had not reached out to the Trump administration for funding.
The initiative, called 3-K for All, is the latest in a string of hazy election-season proclamations de Blasio has made that have been long on ceremony but short on specifics.
He wants to shutter Rikers Island, add 100,000 city jobs, and build 90 homeless shelters — all over the course of the next decade. But how? Don’t ask.
De Blasio said he was confident he could expand the existing pre-K program — his pet project — and assured reporters that an inordinate attention to “reality” was defeatist.
“I’m not going to be held back by our current reality,” he said.
Despite the question marks, de Blasio’s press office issued a 6,259-word press release bursting with praise from supporters.
City Hall even spiced up the statement with a liberal TV pundit, enlisting CNN’s Van Jonesto to laud the mayor.
“Mayor de Blasio’s decision to expand early-childhood education for young New Yorkers is a game-changer in the fight to close the achievement gap,” he said. “This initiative will help build a better future for our children — I hope other communities will take note.”
While the grand plan might prove a stiff challenge, de Blasio said the city would roll it out this September in the South Bronx and Brownsville, Brooklyn, for a less daunting $36 million.
It’s still not clear how he will enact some of his other plans, such as replacing Rikers Island with new jails around the city.
He has already rejected some of the proposals in a report on the closure idea by a blue-ribbon commission, such as decriminalizing prostitution and putting one of the new jails on Staten Island.
He also has given few specifics on how he would create 100,000 new jobs that pay an average of $50,000 a year.
Meanwhile, he has acknowledged the uphill fight for his 3-K plan, saying it would prove tougher than his pre-K initiative.
“Pre-K was no walk in the park to put together,” de Blasio said. “This is going to be even harder, and it will take a little more time.”
The move may serve to remind voters of his pre-K triumph while allowing the mayor to later blame state and…