In what appears to be a record year for pre-Kindergarten applications, nearly one-third of the applicants were shut out in the first round of admissions, the Department of Education reports. Out of 28,815 applicants, 19,834 were offered seats today in public school programs but 8,981 were not. Last year there were just over 25,000 applicants, and nearly 7,000 did not have seats after the first round.
Today's offer letters, which the DOE sent by email and regular mail late in the afternoon, were only for public school programs; community organizations and daycare centers that have pre-K programs make their offers separately.
There will be a second round of admissions in July along with a new directory listing schools and community organizations that still have seats. During last year's second round, 8500 applied for 6764 open seats. According to a DOE spokesperson, there are "tens of thousands of seats offered by community-based organizations."
Children who turn four-years-old in 2011 are eligible for half and full-day public pre-K programs, but they are not guaranteed a seat. Many overcrowded schools do not have pre-Kindergarten classes; siblings of enrolled students get preference in admission. Pre-K classrooms are limited to 18 students with two teachers, one of whom is an assistant teacher.
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