In the past two months, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and his staff have been working closely with the New York City Department of Education (DOE), members of the local Community Education Council (CEC), parents, and other elected officials to address issues that affect children who live in District One, particularly those that relate to admissions policies. Some of the issues include the desire of many parents and community members to make Pre-K a point of entry to schools and helping students who are currently waitlisted for a seat in the school of their choice. District One is a “district of choice” where students are not zoned into specific schools and parents can choose up to three schools for their children in a lottery process. Unfortunately, 44 prospective kindergarten students have been waitlisted and their parents still do not know where their children will go to school in the Fall.
On Thursday, May 21, 2009, at the request of Assemblymember Kavanagh and State Senator Squadron, DOE met with parents and CEC representatives to discuss ways of addressing the needs of waitlisted children. DOE provided information on schools in District One with available seats in an effort to assist parents. An agreement was also reached to keep the students on the waitlists, even when accepted to other schools, to make sure that if a seat becomes available in at a school a family originally chose for their child, they will still have the opportunity to enroll. Kavanagh’s office will work closely with parents, the CEC, and the DOE until all District One students are placed.
In addition, the DOE has committed that they will revisit pre-K and kindergarten admissions policies in District One before next year’s admissions cycle. Parents seeking assistance navigating the admissions process, or information about schools with available seats, should contact Paula Castro in Kavanagh’s district office at 212-979-9696.