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2,406 Children Placed on Kindergarten Waitlists

By DNAinfo Staff on April 6, 2012 5:24pm

P.S. 276's first graders celebrated a ribbon cutting at their Battery Park City school in the fall of 2010. The school has a kindergarten waitlist of 25 students for the fall of 2013.
P.S. 276's first graders celebrated a ribbon cutting at their Battery Park City school in the fall of 2010. The school has a kindergarten waitlist of 25 students for the fall of 2013.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

By Jill Colvin and Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Staff

MANHATTAN — More than 2,400 children across the city have been placed on kindergarten waitlists at their zoned schools, according to Department of Education numbers released Friday.

The total is down slightly from last year, when 2,642 students were placed on waitlists for seats.

"We know that this can be an anxious time for parents, but we can expect these lists to shrink and disappear by the first day of school in September, as they have every year,” DOE spokesman Frank Thomas said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with all of our schools to help them reduce waitlists and ensure that every student has access to a great kindergarten,” he said.

kindergarden waitlist
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DNAinfo/Tracy Prussin

A total of 125 schools citywide have waitlists for zoned student this year, including a dozen with more than 50 students left in the dark about where they'll go to school in the fall.

P.S. 41, in Greenwich Village, has the longest waitlist in Manhattan this year, with 55 students eager for a slot, the DOE said.

Other schools with far more applicants than seats include P.S. 199 Jessie Isador Straus on the Upper West Side with 45 waitlisted kids, and P.S. 59 and P.S. 290 on the Upper East Side, with 36 waitlisted students each, the DOE said.

In Lower Manhattan, four of five elementary schools have waitlists totaling nearly 100 students, even though the city is opening the new Peck Slip School this fall to cut down on overcrowding. The Peck Slip School already has seven students on its kindergarten waitlist, months before it opens, according to the DOE.

"The fact that Peck Slip has a waitlist in its first year is incredible," said Eric Greenleaf, a P.S. 234 parent and school overcrowding advocate, who was shocked to hear how many Lower Manhattan children are stuck on waitlists.

"This is just more evidence that the Department of Education has to build more schools — and soon."

Schools have been reporting higher waitlist numbers than those provided by the DOE Friday, because the DOE calculates school capacity differently than individual schools.

At P.S. 41, for instance, parents were told that 75 students had been waitlisted — 20 more than the number released by the DOE.

Either way, parents are frustrated.

"Obviously, no one is happy and it's a very frustrating situation to not be given a seat in your neighborhood," said P.S. 41 parent coordinator Michele Farinet, who added that the neighborhood is desperate for more school space.

"The bottom line is that there aren't enough seats," she said. "We don't want 32 kids in a class."
The city has received nearly 62,290 kindergarten applications so far for the 2012-2013 school year — about 600 more than this time last year. The numbers are expected to grow as parents continue to register through the summer and the first week of school.

But the enrollment numbers are also still in flux, as some of the waitlisted children are admitted into charter schools, gifted and talented programs and private and parochial schools.

The city has promised to provide every family that remains on a waitlist with an alternate offer by the end of June.

With Andrea Swalec