Thousands rally in Albany on dueling school issues

Supporters participate in a rally in support of Supporters participate in a rally in support of universal pre-kindergarten at the Washington Avenue Armory on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is rallying support in Albany for his signature pre-kindergarten plan even. Photo Credit: AP / Mike Groll

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ALBANY -- Thousands of demonstrators descended on Albany Tuesday to hold rallies and demonstrations on several public education issues, including pre-kindergarten and charter schools.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio headlined a rally to bolster his flagging priority of expanding pre-kindergarten in the city by increasing income taxes on wealthy residents of the five boroughs.

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Cuomo and Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) oppose raising a tax to pay for pre-kindergarten. Instead, Cuomo wants to expand pre-K statewide paid for with state funds.

At roughly the same time as the pre-K event, Cuomo was to attend a news conference on the State Capitol steps with charter school supporters who are angry with de Blasio's plan to eliminate free space for the schools in the city.

The mayor was scheduled to meet with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders afterward.

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