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Number of Kids on Kindergarten Waitlists Drops 4 Percent, City Says

By Amy Zimmer | March 9, 2017 7:33am | Updated on March 10, 2017 7:58am
 Kindergarten and first grade students at a Brooklyn school.
Kindergarten and first grade students at a Brooklyn school.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

MANHATTAN— As families received their kindergarten offer letters Wednesday, the number of students on waitlists at neighborhood schools fell 4 percent, according to the Department of Education.

There were 1,083 students put on waitlists at 54 schools where they were zoned — down from 1,130 students at 65 zoned schools last year.

For the second year in a row, Borough Park’s P.S. 160 in the overcrowded District 20 had the longest waitlist with 94 students.

Forest Hills’ coveted P.S. 196 — which has also had space issues for the past couple of years — came in second with 56 waitlisted students, followed by P.S. 24 in Flushing and Riverdale’s P.S. 24, which was at the center of controversy recently after an assistant principal accused a state legislator of racially profiling applicants.

There was still a waitlist at the Upper West Side’s P.S. 199, inching up slightly from 30 to 34 students, as the area prepares to be rezoned.

Waitlisted families received offers to other schools and will remain on the waitlist for any schools they ranked above their offered school. There tends to be lot of movement off of waitlists through the spring and summer, after families receive spots in Gifted and Talented programs or elsewhere, officials said.

Of the nearly 70,000 families who applied by the Jan. 13 deadline, 71 percent received an offer to their first choice school and 84 percent got into one of their top three schools, according to the DOE.

But not all families were as lucky.

The city wasn’t able to offer any of their listed schools to nearly 7,200 rising kindergarteners — or 10 percent. Of these students, roughly 5,700 were given seats at their zoned schools while others were offered spots elsewhere, either because there wasn’t room at their zoned school or they lived in one of the city’s three “choice” districts that don’t have zoned schools.

DOE officials noted that they made strides among students in homeless shelters after piloting a support admissions program that included training for shelter-based staff and individualized counseling at information sessions. For instance, 41 percent of students in shelters applied for kindergarten, up from last year’s 36 percent, according to the data.

Here is the DOE’s list of schools with waitlists of zoned students.