Thousands of Tots Vie for Kindergarten Seats | NBC New York

Thousands of Tots Vie for Kindergarten Seats



    Parents are frantic as space for schools is small and waiting lists grow. (Published Tuesday, April 5, 2011)

    More and more New York City kids are getting wait-listed at their neighborhood schools before they even begin kindergarten.

    For the first time, P.S. 107 in Park Slope is one of those schools. As of Wednesday, there were 48  little ones too many.

    And so-called "kindergarten cops" are canvassing the neighborhood, hunting for families who live in other areas but lie about their addresses to get into the school.

    One family offered to pay the electric bill at a stranger's home, just to use the receipts as proof of residence, according to the New York Post.

    Meanwhile, parents who do live in the zone are being told their kids can't get in.

    “I was shocked,” said Melanie Stein, mother of five-year-old twins,  “absolutely shocked when we were put on the wait list.”

    The Steins did not have a backup plan. They didn’t even bother trying to register for other schools in their district.

    The Department of Education goes through this every year around this time. Before parents like the Steins get too worried, the DOE wants to make sure they know a few things.

    First, it's still early in the admissions process. Between March and May of last year alone the number of wait-listed kids dropped dramatically. Also, the DOE says it works with nearby schools to make sure all kids are placed.

    On the Upper East Side, where there are also substantial wait-lists, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin is calling for the DOE to invest in either buying more building space or consider leasing.

    She says the one good thing about the recession is that there is so much office space for rent for relatively good prices.