Space Crunch Forces P.S. 154 to Cut Pre-K Program, Principal Says
WINDSOR TERRACE — As the city fights to provide pre-kindergarten seats for all city 4-year-olds, a space crunch at P.S. 154 is forcing the school to slash its popular pre-K class next year, its principal told parents this week.
The growing school needs to add a second-grade class next year and the only available space was in the current pre-K classroom, science lab or computer lab, principal Eric Havlik wrote in an email to families. Havlik's decision came after "extensive discussions" with teachers, parents and staff, he wrote.
"After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that closing the pre-K was our best course of action, given that our labs service roughly 523 students and our pre-K classroom only services 18 children," Havlik wrote.
A DOE spokesman said the agency "would remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that children have access to full-day pre-K in this community." He added that the DOE is "in the process of identifying schools and [community organizations] in the district that can absorb any lost seats for this coming September."
P.S. 154, on 11th Avenue between Windsor Place and Sherman Street, has seen enrollment grow to 541 students this year. In 2013, the school had 480 students, according to Department of Education statistics.
In 2012, there were 354 applicants for the 18 pre-K seats at P.S. 154, according to the DOE.
In District 15 — which has 31 elementary schools in Red Hook, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Sunset Park and Carroll Gardens — there will be 1,025 pre-K seats at schools in 2014-15, according to the DOE's latest pre-K directory. There are also free pre-K slots at 27 community centers and daycares in the district, but the DOE doesn't specify how many seats each site has.
The pre-K directory is now available at some schools in paper form and will be posted online in March. P.S. 154 is still listed in the hard copy because it was printed before Havlik got permission to close the class, he said in his email to parents.
The pre-K admissions process starts March 3. Pre-K classes are open to children who turn 4 in 2014. See the DOE website for more information.