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Parents Furious Forest Hills Schools Don't Have Room For Their Kids

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | April 17, 2015 4:52pm | Updated on April 20, 2015 7:49am
 P.S. 196, which 150 kindergarten seats, found itself with 52 kids on its waitlist.
P.S. 196, which 150 kindergarten seats, found itself with 52 kids on its waitlist.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — Two Forest Hills elementary schools are sending kindergarten students to buildings in other neighborhoods because they don't have room for them, officials said, infuriating local parents.

Dozens of students zoned for P.S. 196 and P.S. 144 were waitlisted and are being sent to other District 28 schools sometimes outside of Forest Hills, parents said.

Anne Duterme bought an apartment in the neighborhood last year just so she could get her kid into P.S. 196.

On Tuesday, she received a letter from the Department of Education that her son had been waitlisted and his other option would be to attend P.S. 117 in Briarwood — which is two subway stops away, Duterme said.

Her son was also placed on waitlists at two other Forest Hills schools, P.S. 303 and P.S. 101, she said.

"Everyone is furious," Duterme said. "We paid so many taxes and we can't even have a decent experience of public schools."

P.S. 196 has already filled its 150 kindergarten seats, and has a waitlist of 52 kids. P.S. 144 offers 100 seats and has 64 students waiting, one of the longest lists in the city, according to data provided by the Department of Education. 

Some students who didn't make the cut were being sent to P.S. 220 in Forest Hills and P.S. 174 in Rego Park, parents said.

The population of families and children is growing in the neighbord zoned for P.S. 144 Col Jeromus Remsen and P.S. 196 Grand Central Parkway, which is also one of the most coveted schools in the area, parents said.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz's office received numeorus complaints from parents about the issue. Michael Cohen, a spokesman for Koslowitz, said "the obvious problem is lack of capacity," and there is no easy solution, he said.

Citywide, 1,239 students have been placed on waitlists at 51 schools they were zoned for, compared to 1,242 students placed on waitlists for 63 schools last year.

Students could still get into the schools they're waitlisted in, as parents may choose other options and drop off the list, a DOE spokesman said.

"Every family that applied to kindergarten before the deadline received an offer, and we were encouraged to see a nearly 25 percent drop in the number of schools with zoned waitlists,” he said. 

“We are continuing to work with families in this school community to ensure that every student has a high-quality kindergarten education," he added.