Kindergarten registration begins today and the early word is that some Manhattan and Brooklyn schools have waitlists for kindergarten, although they are somewhat shorter than last year.
The waitlist phenomenon occurs every spring after the first round of applications. Long lists tend to shrink or disappear after families move, choose a private, charter or a gifted and talented program. Still it causes some anxious moments for parents waiting to learn where their child will attend elementary school and there are always some schools that don't have space for all zoned students.
Some parents are still waiting to hear where their children have been placed. Because of a glitch with the Department of Education computer system, some letters announcing the placements weren't sent out until Friday.
Rezoning on the Upper East Side meant the zone for popular PS 290 shrunk and school officials worried they might not even fill all the seats. Instead there is a waitlist of about three dozen zoned students, said Parent Coordinator Sally Mason. PS 59, also on the Upper East Side, will be moving into a brand new building in September, but already has a wait list, the principal said. DNAInfo reports a waitlist of 28 students at PS 116 in the east 40s.
In downtown Manhattan, where several new schools have opened and zoning lines have been redrawn, popular PS 234 still has a waitlist of 38 zoned students. Last year there had a similar number but the school managed to place all of the students, said Parent Coordinator Magda Lenski. She said it was too early to predict what would happen this year. PS 41 in Greenwich Village, also has zoned children waitlisted. PS 3, which shares a zone with PS 41, last year added an additional kindergarten to acommodate the overflow from 41.
"This gave us a whopping 175 Ks, in contrast to 116 1st graders," Principal Lisa Siegman wrote in an email. "We won't be able to repeat that." So far, PS 3 has space for all zoned kindergartners who applied but Siegman said she didn't know what would happen with families who missed this application period.
Rezoning on the Upper West Side alleviated overcrowding, resulting in shorter waitlists for zoned students at PS 199 (with 46 students) and PS 87 (with 23). "I don't think they're nearly as onerous as the past two years," said District 3 PA President's Council co-chair Rachel Laiserin.
PS 290 Manhattan New School parent coordinator agrees: "We feel the waitlist is manageable because last year we got through 64 people," said Mason, at the Upper East Side school.
But at PS 199, where last year 86 zoned students were waitlisted for kindergarten, PA co-president Michelle Ciulla-Kipkin thinks that even though there are fewer waitlisted students this year, there may be less movement on the waitlist. "People are planning differently. People don't want to wait around all summer on a waitlist." She speculates that many zoned families are choosing to move or go to private or charter schools and not even applying to PS 199. As for out zone families who apply, they're pretty much out of luck. "We're not even going to get to those," she said.
PS 107, a small increasingly sought-after Park Slope school made news last year when its waitlist was so long it had to do away with its pre-kindergarten classroom and add a fifth kindergarten class. There is a waitlist again this year of zoned students, the parent coordinator confirmed.
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