Offer letters for public school pre-kindergarten slots went out this week and once again about one-third of the families of four-year-olds were disappointed. In a year when there were more applicants than ever -- 29,072 as compared to 28,815 in 2011 -- there were only 22,505 seats. About 70 percent of the applicants got offers to a morning, afternoon or full-day program, but 30 percent did not.
That's a slightly higher percentage than in 2011, according to Education Department statistics, mostly because there are several hundred more seats available this year. Families who got a placement may register now through June 22.
There are still seats available for full-day and half-day programs -- 10 percent of the seats remain unfilled, including 1,371 spots in the more desirable full day programs. A list of schools that may have open seats is posted on the DOE's website.
Not surprisingly, there are no pre-kindergarten openings in a few of the most sought-after and crowded districts. There are no schools with open seats in Manhattan's District 2; only one school has seats in District 15 in Brownstone Brooklyn and neighboring District 20. In District 26 in Queens, generally the highest performing in the city, only one school has openings for a half-day program. District 4 in East Harlem and District 5 in Central Harlem, have numerous schools with availability in full-day programs. District 6, covering northern Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood has seats only in afternoon programs. Many schools have open slots in Brooklyn's districts 19, 21 and 22. In the Bronx, districts 7 and 12 list the most schools with openings in full-day programs. Five Staten Island schools have openings only in afternoon programs.
Families who wish to be on a waitlist for a slot must contact each school starting Monday, June 18. As spots open up, they will be given out through a lottery, with preference first to zoned students with a sibling in the school, then to zoned students and then to students with a sibling who lives in the district.
Only children in those three categories will be offered open seats before September 21.
This week's offers were for public school programs; there are thousands of seats available at community organizations and daycare centers which have a separate application process.
For the full breakdown of school-based pre-kindergarten admissions from 2008-2012, click the graphic above.
(updated 4:30 p.m. with a link to schools that still have seats available)