LONG ISLAND CITY — The Department of Education will add an extra kindergarten class at P.S. 78 this fall — a relief to parents whose children had landed on the wait list at the school, the only public elementary school in rapidly growing Hunters Point, officials said Monday.
"Everyone is very relieved," said Coco Dorneanu, whose 4-year-old daughter Eavan was one of 31 children wait listed at P.S. 78 this year, a 50 percent increase from the 22 students wait listed in 2012.
The growing number of students who couldn't score a seat had many parents complaining that the DOE needs to open more schools in Hunters Point, where the population is booming.
Several wait-listed parents were making alternative plans for their children, like sending them to a Catholic school in Brooklyn, or considering a move from the neighborhood altogether.
The new class will be in addition to another that was already planned for P.S. 78 this fall, meaning the school will have four kindergarten classes compared to its current two classes.
The additional class opens up 25 new seats, granting a spot to all but six of the 31 children on the current wait list. More seats should open up in the coming weeks as some already-accepted students opt instead for charter schools, private schools or a gifted and talented program.
"We work with all of our schools to plan strategically for the short and long term," DOE spokesman Devon Puglia said in a statement.
"Everyone is guaranteed a kindergarten placement, and as we work to open up additional kindergarten sections where possible, families across the city are getting offers daily.
Dorneanu said that while she and other parents are thrilled at the announcement of the extra class, they still think more schools need to be built in Hunters Point, where thousands of new housing units are expected to open in the coming years.
She worries that classes at P.S. 78 will suffer from overcrowding if the city doesn't create more school space soon.
"We're so happy about this extra class, but we're like, what's going to happen next year?" she said. "How are we going to be impacted in the future, and how are they addressing that?"