Early Education Salary Disparities Remain as City Acts to Address Concerns with Birth to Five RFP


May 31, 2019

Over the past several months, CCC has been working in partnership with early education providers and advocates to address concerns related to the Department of Education’s birth to five early education RFPs. Last month, a letter signed by over 70 organizations was sent to Administration urging the city to address five concerns before moving forward with its competitive bidding process.

On May 30th, Department of Education (DOE) released an addendum to the RFPs that reflects progress on four out of the five concerns outlined in the letter. While we believe that the changes made to the RFPs represent real progress, we remain concerned that the RFPs fail to close the wage gap between early education teachers at community-based organizations and their peers at DOE schools.

Your Voice Matters

Our collective advocacy over the past several months has helped to make sure that city leaders know New Yorkers are committed to a high quality and sustainable early education system. Thanks to your emails, calls and letters to date we have been successful in pressing the Mayor and his administration to engage in negotiations on salary parity for early childhood educators and to address the concerns raised regarding the birth to five RFP.
Here’s a summary of progress made to date related to four of the five points of concern related to the RFPs:

Year-round services:

  • Issue: There was significant concern that the RFPs would reduce services for  families who rely on extended day and summer services by creating a new  new distinction between “core” and “non-core” hours.
  • Fix: The addenda clarifies that providers can submit proposals that would allow them to operate a holistic program model for year round and extended day services.

Indirect costs:

  • Issue: The RFPs did not provide funding for indirect expenses such as program management and oversight, administrative operations, facilities, and organizational insurance policies critical to keeping programs running
  • Fix: The addenda allows providers to include indirect costs in a manner consistent with a framework established through the non-profit resiliency committee and memorandum put forth by the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

Cost escalators

  • Issue: The RFPs failed to build in cost escalators and therefore kept reimbursement flat over many years and set providers up for major gaps in funding.
  • Fix: The addenda permits DOE to address cost increases during the contract term, allowing the city to address industry wide labor costs that increase or permitting individual providers to bring forward demonstrated increases in occupancy costs.

Pay for enrollment:

  • Issue: The RFP allowed DOE to pay providers less than what is needed to cover all costs by penalizing providers if enrollment dips.
  • Fix: The addenda sets a floor of 75% of the contract value below which reimbursement to providers will not fall and creates a structure of payment that ensures all providers would receive several months of funding upfront and 75% of the contract value by January regardless of enrollment. After January, providers would receive payment based on  enrollment.

The DOE also extended the deadline for the Birth to Five RFPs to June 13th.

Take Action Today!

The fifth issue raised in the letter was the RFPs perpetuation of salary disparities. While negotiations are underway, the issue has not been resolved and teachers, staff and directors in community-based organizations will continue to earn significantly less than their counterparts in DOE schools. Currently the gap between CBO early educators and DOE early educators ranges from $15,000 to $35,000 a year.

The city’s fiscal year 2020 budget is days from being finalized. Join providers, advocates and the City Council in urging Mayor de Blasio to end pay inequity between New York City’s early educators. Take 5 minutes today and tell our city leaders that all early education teachers deserve equal pay for equal work.

After you have sent the e-mail you can help take this call to action a step further by sharing the following message on Facebook and Twitter:

Did you know early childhood educators at community-based orgs earn 40% less than their NYC DOE peers? I just emailed @NYCMayor to urge him to end this pay inequity and make salary parity a reality in the city’s adopted budget. Join me & take action today: http://bit.ly/2Qz746E

For more information about salary disparities in the early education workforce, check out our infographic and public service announcement.

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