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

By Julie Shapiro | February 2, 2011 1:08pm
P.S. 234 in TriBeCa will hold a lottery for kindergarten seats this year.
P.S. 234 in TriBeCa will hold a lottery for kindergarten seats this year.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

TRIBECA — P.S. 234, the popular TriBeCa elementary school, has received too many kindergarten applications and will hold a lottery next month to decide who will get in, staff told DNAinfo.

The school had already received 163 applications for just 125 seats, and more parents may apply before the March 4 deadline, parent coordinator Magda Lenski said.

"We’re definitely going to have to do another lottery," Lenski said.

Sixty-eight of the applications came from siblings of current students, who are guaranteed a seat, Lenski said. That leaves 95 prospective kindergarteners to fight for the remaining 57 seats, a handful of which are earmarked for students with special needs.

P.S. 234's principal Lisa Ripperger spoke at District 2's Community Education Council meeting in January 2010.
P.S. 234's principal Lisa Ripperger spoke at District 2's Community Education Council meeting in January 2010.
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DNAinfo/Suzanne Ma

"It’s very stressful," said Ayala Marcktell, founder of the Tribeca Community School, a preschool that sends many students to P.S. 234. "[Parents] don’t know if their child will be accepted or not. They’re hoping to get in and not be bused to another school."

Manisha Chawhan, a TriBeCa resident whose daughter is starting kindergarten this fall, has moved twice so she would be in the P.S. 234 zone. First, Chawhan moved downtown to Broadway and Worth Street five years ago, and then she moved farther west last year after the zone for P.S. 234 changed.

"It really jumped out at me," Chawhan said of the school. Principal Lisa Ripperger is known for "helping each child get what they need," Chawhan added.

Chawhan said she was still optimistic that her daughter would win a seat at P.S. 234, since the school was able to eventually accept everyone from their wait list last year.

However, P.S. 234 did not plan to open an extra kindergarten class this year to accommodate extra students, as they did last year, school officials said.

Instead, overflow kindergarteners might be sent to the Spruce Street School, Elizabeth Rose, a portfolio planner for the Department of Education, said at a meeting last fall.

Eric Greenleaf, a P.S. 234 parent and anti-overcrowding activist, said the real question was whether Spruce and downtown’s other schools had room for the extra students, since they were reaching capacity as well.

"That’s what we need everyone to be worrying about and working on," Greenleaf said.

The city is in negotiations with the US Postal Service to build a new 400-seat elementary school at the Peck Slip Post Office, which would alleviate some of the overcrowding a few years from now.

Anxious TriBeCa parents waited for information about kindergarten enrollment at P.S. 234 at a meeting last year.
Anxious TriBeCa parents waited for information about kindergarten enrollment at P.S. 234 at a meeting last year.
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DNAinfo/Suzanne Ma

Greenleaf advised prospective P.S. 234 parents to try not to fret over their child’s future.

"No matter what school your child goes to, they’re going to go to a great school," Greenleaf said.