Wait lists for kindergarten spaces at many public schools across the city are even longer this year, leaving about 4 percent of the total kindergarten applicants and their families unsure about their placement.
Overcrowding at 112 public schools citywide has caused more than 2,000 kindergartners to be placed on wait lists -- and many parents have become worried that their little children will be sent to schools far from home.
“All I keep thinking is, 'Does she get the thick envelope?' and 'Does she get the thin envelope?’” Robert Sprung said of 4-year-old daughter Sophie to the New York Daily News. "To have this [for] kindergarten is just absurd."
Sprung hopes to enroll his daughter in Public School 87 on the Upper West Side, where there are 130 spaces in the kindergarten and 125 children on the wait list, the longest list of all kindergartens in the city.
Other Manhattan schools with long wait lists include PS 290 with 101 students, P.S. 234 with 85, P.S. 6 with 57, and P.S. 183 with 56.
In Brooklyn, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge schools also have wait lists, including P.S. 105 with 57 over-enrolled and P.S. 169 with 47. And in Corona, Queens, about 120 children have been wait listed for four schools.
The overflow at some schools is thought to be a result of the apartment building boom, a decrease in the number of families moving to the suburbs, and parents not sending their children to private schools for economic reasons.
Education officials say that the majority of the wait listed students should be able to be accommodated, as families find different programs for their children, like private schools or placements in gifted programs.
In a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg said that the fact many are on the wait lists is a testament to how great the city's schools are. He asked for parents to be patient, assuring that children will go to school, whether or not it be the first choice.
To help absorb more children, two new schools will open this fall in Districts 2 and 3 in Manhattan, each with 75 kindergarten seats.
By mid-May, wait-listed children will be offered placement at other nearby schools, but will be able to remain on the wait list at their neighborhood school even if they enroll in the alternate.
"We understand that for the families of children that are wait listed this is a real time of anxiety," Maura Keaney, department director of external affairs for the Education Department told the Times. "We know from last year, many of these wait lists will shrink and some of them may empty out completely."
Notification letters are going out to families this week regarding placement.