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WTFriday: Pre-K Madness

I have checked my e-mail 27 times today. And I still don’t know where my little girl will be going to school next year.

As a 4-year-old, my daughter is eligible for (free, gloriously free!) pre-k next year. However, I live in an overcrowded district with an excellent school rating, so the pre-k program has been cut down to just one class. The word on the street is that the great majority of those spots are gone to siblings of current students. We’ve applied to some other public schools nearby, but there’s a good chance we won’t get in anywhere in our area.

In the mean time, the private nursery school my daughter now attends has insisted on payments for next year. We have already shelled out a hefty deposit plus our two of 10 tuition payments for next year -- thousands of dollars we will not get back if we end up doing pre-k -- and we are late on a third (hence the incessant e-mail checks). Many parents of kids in my daughter’s class are out of work and just couldn’t justify throwing away money for a spot they might not need, so they are probably at this moment glued to their computer hitting refresh on their e-mail over and over, fearing their kids won’t go to school next year.

The DOE said we’d hear in early May. Then an e-mail went out last Monday saying we’d hear at the end of this week. As of this moment – nada. As the long weekend gets under way, I am doubtful we will hear for at least a few more days.

It seems unfair that the private school my daughter attends (and most in our area) insists on money so far ahead of when public placements are announced, and is so inflexible about refunding money for unused spots. And the DOE should be aware of this timing discrepancy, and sensitive to people who are depending on public school as their first choice, especially in this economy.

Does this happen where you live? Or is this just an unfortunate NYC phenomenon?


Update: We didn't get in anywhere. Hello private school!