Dozens of children remain on kindergarten waitlists at popular schools around the city, and last week families received letters assigning them to other schools in their districts.
At the end of kindergarten registration in March, more than 2,600 entering kindergartners were on waitlists at their zoned schools. The number has clearly shrunk -- although the Department of Education has not released current numbers -- as students move or accept seats at private schools. There there will be more movement this month when assignments are made to gifted and talented and special education programs.
But it is highly unlikely that all students will be able to attend their zoned schools in the fall, frustrating families who may have moved to a neighborhood just for the school.
At PS 290 Manhattan New School, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, 60 children remain waitlisted, according to Parent Coordinator Sally Mason. That's down from 71 at the end of March, but parents new to the neighborhood keep arriving hoping to register, she said. Families zoned for PS 290 are being assigned to nearby PS 198 and PS 151, even though PS 151 has its own waitlist. Also on the Upper East Side, some families zoned for PS 59 are being sent to PS 267, a new school that opened in 2010.
In downtown Manhattan, popular PS 234 has a waitlist of 28 students, according to The Tribeca Trib, despite rezoning of the area's schools in 2010 and the opening of two elementary schools in the neighborhood in 2009. The overflow students have been assigned to PS 130 in Chinatown and PS 11 in Chelsea. The New York Post reports that PS 234 are getting priority over waitlisted PS 130 students at the Chinatown school.
PS 3 and PS 41, which share a zone in Greenwich Village, started with waitlists of 54 and 55 students at the end of March. PS 3 cleared its waitlist, a school official said, and was sent 22 students from PS 41 by the Department of Education's enrollment office. Other students in the zone have been assigned to PS 11, which has more room since a middle school which shared the building moved out in 2010.
The assignment to a school outside of the zone came as a surprise to parents who had been assured on school tours that there would be room at either PS 3 or PS 41 for all zoned families.
"It's extremely frustrating," said Monique Rodrigue, who lives four blocks from PS 41. Her 4-year-old has been assigned to PS 11, and her 2-year-old goes to a nursery school in the opposite direction. "It's not that close to us. I have to go in the other direction to do morning drop-off within 15 minutes. They're too young to walk that far.
"We made a decision to stay in the city and this is what is driving people out," she said. "There are 3,000 on a kindergarten waitlist. They're not building the infrastructure to support the people who are moving here."
The longest waitlist in the city in March belonged to giant PS 169, in Sunset Park, which serves many children of immigrant families from China and Latin America. Only a few of the 95 students on the kindergarten waitlist have been given seats at PS 169; the remainder will be bused to PS 124, PS 38, and PS 230, all located in other District 15 neighborhoods.
In Park Slope, PS 107's waitlist dropped from 48 in March to eight this month, after the school decided to move its pre-kindergarten classroom offsite. PS 39, a tiny school in Park Slope, had a waitlist of 21 in March which is now down to 16.
Families may remain on the waitlists for their zoned schools into October, according to the enrollment office. Historically, many families have been able to register at their zoned school for 1st grade, although there is no guarantee.
We asked the Department of Education for an updated list of the schools that still have waitlists for kindergarten, and the number of families, but have not gotten an answer. Are you on a waitlist? Please share your information in comments.