A nonprofit lunched to push Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature prekindergarten plan made over 200,000 robocalls last night to tout its progress, Dan Levitan, a spokesman for UPKNYC, told the Observer this morning.
In the robocall, a UPKNYC field director praises the State Assembly for including Mr. de Blasio’s tax on high income earners to fund expansive pre-K and after-school programs in its preliminary budget plan.
“Hi, this is Stephanie calling with some breaking news about Mayor’s de Blasio’s game-changing plan to provide universal pre-K for every four-year old and after-school for EVERY middle school student,” says the campaign’s field director, Stephanie Yazgi, in the call. “The New York Assembly Majority just resolved to fund the Mayor’s plan. This is a big step for ALL OUR CHILDREN, and we want to thank the Assembly for their leadership.”
The pre-K effort comes as speculation mounts that Mr. de Blasio has backed off his hard-line stance that a tax on high-income earners is the only way to fund his plan. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed funding pre-K across New York with state money instead–and on Monday, the mayor said he would accept state funding for the program if it was sufficient to meet the city’s needs. He has long maintained the governor’s offer falls short, however.
The robocall campaign is the latest example of Mr. de Blasio and his allies’ activist approach to city government, which is often reminiscent of a traditional political campaign. UPKNYC, a non-profit launched by Mr. de Blasio’s former campaign manager and now managed by many former aides, has also staged rallies and sent out canvassers to collected signatures at subway stops across the city.
Listen to the call below: