MURRAY HILL — Full-day pre-K options are finally coming to Murray Hill and Gramercy.
“This is major for the neighborhood,” said Marlowe Bamberger, chair of the PTA at P.S. 116. “Other than the half-day pre-K classes at P.S. 281, there are no other pre-K options in the neighborhood.”
In an area of Manhattan's District 2 that some education advocates have called a “pre-K desert,” new school P.S. 281 was the only one in the area that offered pre-K classes this year, and they were only half-day sections, with 29 seats in all, according to records.
“Frankly, so far the choice for parents [has] been a half-day pre-K class or nothing," Bamberger said. "They had no other choice than to go private, because they couldn’t pick up their kids at 11:30 in the morning.”
P.S. 116 at 210 E. 33rd St., which is getting 36 more pre-K seats in the fall, used to offer one full-day pre-K section, but the school got rid of it several years ago because of overcrowding at the school, Bamberger said.
In the last two years, the school — which saw a dip in enrollment this year due to the opening of P.S. 281 and changes in zoning — had been pushing the DOE to bring the pre-K program back, she said.
P.S. 40 at 320 E. 20th St. also had a pre-K program but the school eliminated it last year due to overcrowding. The school will be getting 18 full-day pre-K seats this fall.
"It's fantastic to serve another 54 students in this neighborhood, but we're still a long way from universal pre-K in this neighborhood," said Eric Goldberg, a member of the Community Education Council for District 2. "If you think about the need, we're starting down the right path, but we need to follow up by identifying more space for these students."
Pre-K applications for the fall of 2014 are now available and are due on April 23. All children who will turn 4 in 2014 are eligible to apply.