- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expanding after-school programs at public middle schools.

The program began this week. Administration aides said 34,000 students had signed up by Friday.

The administration nearly doubled the number of available seats for this school year, increasing them to 71,000. Another 7,000 seats will be available at special education schools and private schools.

The mayor encouraged parents to sign up for the free program. He said he was confident all seats would eventually be filled.

He said the programs would help children learn and provide a safe place to go after the normal school day.

The program is part of the mayor’s ambitious education agenda. The other is a dramatic expansion of pre-kindergarten for city children.

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