A deal, hammered out and approved by the New York State Senate yesterday, provides a potential path forward on universal pre-K in New York City as well as statewide.

Since Mayor de Blasio's inauguration, he's been involved in a knock-down, drag-out game of three-dimensional chess with Governor Andrew Cuomo. De Blasio ran on a universal pre-K program in New York City, which he intended to fund by a tax increase on the very wealthy. Cuomo upped the ante by saying that he wanted pre-K too: and not just for New York, for the whole state. And he'd fund it in the state budget, no new tax needed. No matter how much it cost, he'd fund it. No new taxes though—it's an election year! Presents for everybody!

Until yesterday, De Blasio's response was "no dice." Earlier this week, he held an Albany rally urging the legislature to allow him to raise taxes to pay for the program in New York City; the Democratic state Assembly's proposal mirrored his. De Blasio's argument has been that state funding might go away, but taxes are forever: to work, the program needs steady funding that isn't subject to the annual whims of the state legislature. Cuomo replied that he'd fund the program no matter how much it cost, as long as there were no new taxes involved. Add to this stalemate a slew of awkwardly-staged press conferences, the byzantine leadership of the Legislature, and you have all the makings of a classic Albany sleazefest/snoozefest.

Until yesterday. The deal, approved by the State Senate, includes at least some of what everyone wants: it would allocate $540 million next year, and $2.7 billion over the next five, to fund pre-K and after-school programs in the city. It also includes $145 million for pre-K in the rest of the state. It doesn't include de Blasio's proposed tax, and would also revoke the city's ability to regulate charter schools, granting that power to the much more charter-friendly state government.

De Blasio (and the UPK-NYC organization he founded as an extension of his campaign) seem to be in favor:

The plan now faces the Democratic-controlled Assembly, which will probably pass it. But then again, this is Albany: anything can happen. If it passes, prepare for the race to find 30,000 classroom seats in New York before next year—nobody's exactly sure where those will come from, although city officials claimed to have identified space several weeks ago, they're still checking those classroom spaces to make sure they're up to code and the proposed teachers are certified and ready to go.