In a bumper year for public school kindergarten applications, more than 2,400 children are on waitlists at their zoned school. That is 200 fewer than last year at this time, according to data the Education Department released on Friday afternoon.
Three schools have more than 100 zoned families waiting for a slot. Topping the list again is gigantic PS 169 in Sunset Park, with 113 waitlisted zoned kindergartners at a school with 1450 students. Last year it had 95 children waitlisted in March after the first registration period. Nearby PS 94, another large school where more than half of the students are English language Learners, has 111 students on its waitlist. PS 307 in Corona which opened in 2008, has 109 students on a waitlist.
More than 62,280 kindergarten applications were received in 2012 (as compared to 61,600 in 2011) and 125 schools have a waitlist for children living in their zone (the same number as last year.) The DOE did not release the number of out-of-zone siblings of current students who have not been given seats. (Last year there were 553.) This year schools must get permission from the enrollment office before admitting students from outside the zone.
Even with three new elementary schools, downtown Manhattan, which has seen an enormous influx of families moving into new residential skyscrapers, cannot accommodate all zoned students. PS 234 in Tribeca has 34 children waitlisted and PS 276, which just opened in 2009, has 25. Even PS 343, the new Peck Slip School, which has yet to open, already has seven zoned kindergartners on a waitlist. In Greenwich Village, PS 41 with 55 children, has the longest waitlist in Manhattan.
While waitlists cause high anxiety among parents, they tend to shrink or disappear over the spring and summer as children are admitted to private schools, public gifted programs, charter schools or move out of the city, Department of Education officials say. Still, that's littlle comfort for parents who may have to wait until the end of June to find out where their child will be attending kindergarten. That's when the DOE says it will offer an alternate placement to any child still waitlisted at his zoned school.
Attending kindergarten is not mandatory but all children turning five in 2012 are guaranteed a seat. Families may remain on a waitlist until the fall, if they choose. There is often movement over the summer.
Students who applied to schools outside of their zone or district will also have to wait a little longer. "Out of zone students will get offers in the coming weeks after zoned student offers have been worked out," a DOE spokesperson said in a email.