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70 Percent of NYC Families Score Top Choice for Public Pre-K, Mayor Says

By Amy Zimmer | June 8, 2015 7:00pm
 Pre-K children attend class at P.S. 303 in Forest Hills.
Pre-K children attend class at P.S. 303 in Forest Hills.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

MANHATTAN — Nearly 69,400 families applying for the city's free pre-K seats will receive offers this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

Roughly 70 percent of families will receive a spot in their top choice program, 82 percent will get one of their top three, and every family who applied will receive an offer somewhere as close to their home as possible, the mayor said, noting that thousands of new seats will become available by the second round of admissions set to take place this month.

"Pre-K for All is the centerpiece of our agenda to confront inequality in our city, and come September, every family seeking a seat for their child will have one for the very first time," de Blasio said at Washington Heights' P.S. 5 where he handed offers to attend that school's pre-K program to Olivio Capellan and his quadruplets.

(The city noted how this year's applicant pool had multiple sets of multiples, including 1,113 sets of twins and 22 sets of triplets receiving offers.)

"We have thousands more seats coming online in the weeks ahead and another round of applications right around the corner," the mayor added. "We will work with every parent one-on-one to find the right program for their child."

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This year marked the first time families could apply to public school pre-K programs as well as community-based early childhood education centers on one application. Previously, only public school-based pre-K programs shared the same timeline and process, while early childhood centers had a separate process with various deadlines.

Families who do not receive their first choice will be placed on a waitlist, school officials noted. A second round of applications begins June 22. All families are eligible to re-apply in the second round.

Already more than 1,700 new seats have been added to the pre-K directory in recent days and thousands more will be announced in the coming days before the second round.

Families who apply in the second round do not forfeit their original offer, and students will remain on waitlists at the schools where they have applied, school officials explained.