Volume 22, Number 53 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 14 - 20, 2010
Parents told answer in the mail
BY John Bayles
On Tuesday night, Lower Manhattan parents waiting to find out exactly where their kindergartener will attend school in the fall were told to check their mailboxes over the next two weeks for an answer.
The Department of Education (D.O.E.) held a special meeting for the 50 families who are waiting for an “alternate offer” because the school they are zoned for is overcrowded.
“I know this is just an awful experience” began Elizabeth Rose, a representative from the D.O.E.’s Office of Portfolio Planning, “and I am sorry you have to go through this.”
Next, she assured those in attendance that “every child will have a seat in a lower Manhattan school next year.”
Twenty-five children will be able to attend P.S. 234 and the rest will be split between P.S. 3, P.S. 276 and the Spruce Street School. The parents will receive a letter in the mail May 17 informing them of the D.O.E.’s decision.
Rose explained that the method by which the D.O.E. would place the children is basically geographic.
“We will look at where we have available seats and where people live and try to line things up the best we can,” said Rose.
As parents began asking questions concerning their ability to tell the D.O.E. which of the three alternate schools they would prefer, Rose said there was no “formal” process to take that information into the “equation.” In attendance was NYC Councilmember Margaret Chin, who quickly spoke out on the issue.
“Why not give the parents the choice or at least the option to let you know they prefer a specific school because it will be easier for them and more convenient to travel to,” asked Chin. “Right now you are still looking at it. Why don’t you just let the parents give you a preference to guide your decision making?”
It was previously believed that none of the waitlisted children would be able to attend P.S. 234. But Rose stated that a decision had been made to create an extra kindergarten class instead of adding another first grade at the school.
Rose explained there was indeed a process for parents who, once they receive their alternate offer in the mail, wish to send their child to another school.
“If there is a specific reason why you feel you need to be placed somewhere else,” said Rose, “you can file for a placement exception request.”
Rose also informed the parents that if they accept the alternate offer they would retain their spot on the P.S. 234 waitlist and would be contacted when their number came up. The waitlist will remain active until October 1.