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TriBeCa's P.S. 234 Will Hold Lottery for Kindergarten Seats

By Julie Shapiro on January 26, 2012 8:18am 

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DOE Zoning 1/17
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Billy Figueroa

TRIBECA — P.S. 234 will hold a lottery for kindergarten once again this year after getting far more applications than there are seats, staff confirmed Wednesday.

The popular TriBeCa elementary school has received 163 kindergarten applications for its 125 seats, said Magda Lenski, parent coordinator at P.S. 234.

"If it stands like this, we will have to do a lottery," Lenski said.

Fifty-four of the incoming kindergarteners already have older siblings at P.S. 234, guaranteeing them a seat. That means the remaining 109 applicants without siblings will have about a 65 percent chance of winning a kindergarten spot in the lottery. 

Families have until March 2 to apply for kindergarten, so P.S. 234's lottery roster could continue to grow. But Lenski said she also expects some families to drop off the list once they find out next month whether their children have been admitted to private school.

The Department of Education has not yet said where students who do not win P.S. 234's lottery will go to school.

The DOE had hoped to prevent another lottery and waitlist at P.S. 234 and proposed last fall to shrink the school's zone, curtailing the number of children who would have been eligible to apply.

But TriBeCa parents shot down proposals that would have sent their children to school in Greenwich Village or Chinatown instead of P.S. 234, saying they would prefer to try their luck in a lottery than be zoned out of their neighborhood.

The DOE adhered to the parents' request and agreed to keep the P.S. 234 zone intact but warned in November the school would likely have a waitlist in 2012.

"We knew this was going to happen," said Demetri Ganiaris, a P.S. 234 parent and member of the District 2 Community Education Council. "This is exactly why they were trying to [rezone]."

Ganiaris said the real solution to the overcrowding and waitlists in Lower Manhattan is to build additional classrooms, in addition to the new Peck Slip School, which is opening its first kindergarten classes in Tweed Courthouse in the fall of 2012.

"It's not enough," Ganiaris said. "We still need more schools."

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