Today’s news:

Kinder crisis averted! PS 107 moves pre-K, adds more K seats

for The Brooklyn Paper

An overcrowded Park Slope elementary school will relocate its pre-K program to add a fifth kindergarten classroom, clearing the way for more than half of the kids on a waiting list to be enrolled.

PS 107 will accommodate 25 of the 47 children on its waiting list by uprooting the school’s pre-K class, according to Principal Cynthia Holton. There’s no word yet on where the 18-seat pre-K section will go.

“Anything we do right now is going to be problematic,” Holton said. “Not everyone is going to be happy, but we’re doing the best we can to serve our population and let everyone have an opportunity to get in.”

The Eighth Avenue school sent out the hotly desired acceptance letters to the lucky families on April 1, placating many wait-listed parents, who had called on the Education Department to cut pre-K to make room for kindergartners.

“I thought it must be a joke, I was just so surprised,” said Arnold Barkus, whose son Alistair will now be able to attend kindergarten blocks away from his home. “I’m relieved, but the problem isn’t finished.”

Indeed, the unprecedented five kindergarten classes will become five first grade classes next year, pushing a big rat through the snake that is PS 107’s crowded 100-year-old building.

Overcrowded kindergartens are certainly nothing new in the city’s recent history, but the problem was especially acute at PS 107 and its neighbors. After finding out that they were on a waiting list, parents dashed to nearby schools to beg for seats that were already spoken for, and PS 107 staff made home visits to weed out students whose didn’t actually live in the school’s zone.

Pat Mannino, a PS 107 administrator who visited homes to boot children whose parents lied about their addresses, said it’s too soon to guarantee the rest of the wait list will be offered seats.

“We will send out letters as soon as people decline,” she said. “We’re working as quickly and as fairly as possible to alleviate parents’ panic and frustration.”

The Department of Education has said that kindergarten seats will open up as students are accepted into private schools or gifted and talented programs. Children who don’t get in to PS 107 will be offered a seat at a school as close to home as possible at the end of May.

Before PS 107 accepted 25 more children on Friday, three seats had already become available when two students were bumped after house visits and one opted for a different school.

This year was the first time PS 107 could not accommodate all the in-zone children on its wait list, which also included the son of Marc Sternberg, an Education Department deputy chancellor who manages enrollment.

Barkus said that he couldn’t get his son into 10 of the city’s pre-K programs he applied to last year, so he “spent a small fortune on pre-K.” Now he’s relieved.

“People move to Park Slope because they know their kids are going to make friends in the neighborhood,” Barkus said. “There’s a sense of community. Why should we have to leave our community to go to school? It goes against why we moved here in the first place.”

Education Department representatives will meet with parents the John Jay HS campus [237 Seventh Ave. between Fourth and Fifth streets, (212) 374-5141] on April 7 at 6 pm.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Issy from Park Slope says:
What is Pre-K doing in a public school? Are tax payer dollars being spent on baby-sitting programs for the future spoiled brats of Park Slope?
April 5, 2011, 1:29 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
how cute, a grand-dad and his grandson.
April 5, 2011, 11:02 am
Big V says:
Issy -- if you don't know there is pre-k in public schools, why are you asking why it's there? Yes, taxpayer money is being spent to educate the children of NYC taxpayers -- that's why we pay taxes, dipstick.

If you dont' like it, maybe you could give us the Tea Party approved list of all government spending so we could drive out the communism in our society that is pre-k. Or maybe you could just back to your trailer in Arkansas and leave us communists who send our kids to pre-k alone.
April 5, 2011, 1:59 pm
Do What from Park Slope says:
OMG who cares
April 5, 2011, 3:27 pm
Dawn Dew from Park Slope says:
I was so looking forward to Pat Mannino weeding out all the parents out of district booting the kids and finally setting a trend that might spill over to PS321 where falsifying addresses to get in is standard policy as I long as I:ve been in Park Slope( 14 yr). I was hoping that this paper might even consider posting the names of the transgressors.
April 6, 2011, 8:39 am
Nat from Park slope says:
FYI. The number one indicator of long term academic success is in school readiness as demonstrated through the ability of the child to build vocabulary acquisition and numeracy skills, along with interpersonal skills. These strengthen vital neural connections. In other-words: educating before kindergarten pays off. However, this doesn't need to be done in a formal setting like a pre-k class. But then again the same is true for kindergarten, and first,and second.....
Aug. 10, 2011, 11:19 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links