Parents worry as kindergarten waitlist reaches 148

By JOSH ROGERS | Lower Manhattan principals offered lucky children about 400 kindergarten seats this September, leaving 148 others on waiting lists to get into P.S. 234, 276 and the Peck Slip School.

At least a few of the waitlisted 4- and 5-year-olds are likely to end up at Spruce Street School, which currently has three openings for its 75 slots.

“We are anticipating three classes so we have a little bit of wiggle room,” Spruce Principal Nancy Harris told Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott April 4 at a meeting of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s School Overcrowding Task Force.

The two Battery Park City elementary schools have just over 40 on the waitlist. At P.S. 89, 44 are waiting to get into one of three classes, and at P.S. 276, 41 are waiting and hoping one of 100 slots open up in the four K’s starting in September.

Last on the P.S. 276 list is the daughter of Ariana Massouh, who this week started a change.org petition demanding the Dept. of Education find space closer to home.

She said when she called the D.O.E., an official told her that, the city would likely offer spots in June to waitlisted students in Chinatown or the Village — too far away for her comfort. Both solutions were proposed for the 2012-13 school year and were strongly opposed by parents and community leaders.

“We’re in the position of getting a spot or moving,” said Massouh, whose daughters are 4 and 1. “It would probably be a move to the suburbs. We feel this is the best community for children. “

She moved from the Upper West Side to Gateway Plaza in Battery Park City after plans were approved to build P.S. 276, and now she’s hoping her daughter will be able to continue there after pre-kindergarten.

At P.S. 234 in Tribeca, Principal Lisa Ripperger said she sent offer notices to 115 students, leaving a waitlist of 50 students. Sixty-three of the accepted students do not have older siblings in the school, meaning this year, families had better than a 50-50 shot of being accepted in the initial offering. (Siblings are given priority over other zoned students.)

Ripperger said even though the P.S. 234 school zone has shrunk twice in recent years to create new school zones, this is still the fifth consecutive year the school has had a waiting list.

The new Peck Slip School, which is operating in the Dept. of Education headquarters at Tweed until its permanent home is finished, has 13 on its waiting list, but Principal Maggie Sienna told Walcott she was expecting “a little movement” so she would be able to offer at least a few more children spots.

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