Parents Slam DOE Failure to Plan for Downtown Kindergarten Wait-Lists
LOWER MANHATTAN — The Department of Education's alternate plans for more than 100 children who remain on record wait-lists for Downtown's popular kindgergartens won't be announced until mid-June, officials said last week, leaving frustrated families and educators outraged.
"I just can't believe this," said Arianna Massouh, whose daugher is wait-listed along with 38 other children at Battery Park City's popular P.S. 276, at a meeting Friday. "To not have a plan, this late in the game, it makes no sense."
DOE representatives told a meeting of parents, local pricinpals and officials Friday that they were still working to identify schools and available seats for the youngsters, but couldn't offer any solutions until mid-June.
"I have to decide whether to renew my lease, whether we need to move," said another parent with a wait-listed P.S. 276 child. "All you're saying is that we're left in limbo."
In past years, the DOE has suggested busing wait-listed students to Chinatown — a solution that's not gone over well with parents and has never been implemented.
And Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, along with parents and Community Board 1 members, adamantly said Friday that they would not accept a busing proposition this year.
According to area principals, the wait-list numbers have decreased slightly since the kindergarten offers first went out in early April. P.S. 234 now has 28, down from 40 students; P.S. 276 has 38 students, down from 41; and P.S. 89 has 37 students, down from 45.
But even local pricipals — not anticipating a huge decrease in the wait-list thanks to parents choosing private schools or gifted-and-talented programs — were left in disbelief by the lack of any concrete DOE plan.
"I'm totally floored," said P.S. principal Terri Rutyer on Friday. "I hope you actually have something in the works and this is just a poker face. I don't know how you can come here today and say you're still looking for solutions."
Assemblyman Silver asked the DOE to come back to him with some type of alternatives in the next two weeks, instead of waiting until June for the reveal.
In the meantime, parents say they are left in frustrating limbo.
"We love this neighborhood, we love these schools, that's why we came here," said parent Chloe Ching. "But we really don't know what to do now."