NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that New York City will open 10,400 more full-day pre-kindergarten seats by September.

The seats were approved at a meeting of the Panel for Education policy Thursday night, and will be located in community-based early childhood centers. The new program brings the total number of full-day seats to 25,000 – over 20,000 more community-based full-day seats than in the current school year.

The Mayor’s office said the new pre-K seats, combined with the existing seats in public schools, mean New Yorkers will have more choices to secure free, high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten spots in their own neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods of Crotona-Tremont in the Bronx, and Flushing and Jamaica in Queens, will each see more than 500 seats compared to this school year. More than 5,400 of the seats announced Friday are in low-income communities.

“This is a big day for working families across this city. We are giving thousands more children the right start in life. But the door we are opening depends on parents coming forward today to apply,” the mayor said in a news release. “This is one of the most important decisions any parent can make for their child, and we are giving parents the options they need to find the right program in their own community.”

Parents of children born in 2010 who live in New York City may apply for pre-K this September. Parents looking to apply for seats in the community-based early childhood centers are urged to do so by June 26, and notifications of public school pre-K placement will be sent out by June 5.

Applications and the CBECC Pre-K Directory, with all the new options, are available at

De Blasio’s signature campaign pledge was to fund universal pre-kindergarten and expanded after-school programs for middle-schoolers with a tax hike on the city’s wealthy.

When that idea died in Albany, the state government stepped in with $300 million for pre-K but little for the after-school programs, prompting the mayor to proposing spending $145 million in the next fiscal year to expand programs for nearly 100,000 children.

The city budget released this month set a goal of 53,000 pre-K seats by September.

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