Downtown school waitlists drop to zero

Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer  Some parents on the waitlist for Lower Manhattan schools spoke at least week’s Community Board 1 meeting.
Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Formerly waitlisted families for Lower Manhattan schools at a Community Board 1 meeting a few months ago. Ariana Massouh, second from the right, was smiling Friday when she heard the news that her daughter and all waiting students received offers to neighborhood schools.

BY JOSH ROGERS  |And then there were none.

Lower Manhattan principals said Friday that their waiting lists have dropped to zero, meaning 5-year-olds waiting for kindergarten seats will receive offers to nearby schools next week.

“I’m very happy — can’t you tell, I’m actually smiling,” said Ariana Massouh, a waitlisted parent who started a change.org petition pressing the Dept of Education to find space for the 148 children who were originally waiting for kindergarten seats Downtown.

Massouh’s daughter, now in pre-K at P.S. 276, will be able to stay in Battery Park City and attend P.S. 89. All students on the P.S. 276 list are expected to be offered a seat at P.S. 89. Everyone on the Peck Slip School list will get offers at nearby Spruce Street School. Students on the P.S. 234 list will receive offers to attend school two blocks away at P.S. 150 in Tribeca.

The Dept. of Education has proposed moving P.S. 150 to Chelsea in 2014, but officials now appear less gung-ho about making the move, which is not yet final. The topic was barely addressed at the Friday meeting of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s School Overcrowding
Task Force.

Immediately after the meeting, Ben Goodman, the director of the D.O.E.’s Manhattan office of public affairs, acknowledged that waitlisted P.S. 234 parents being sent to P.S. 150 could end up being sent to Chelsea in a year, but he also told Downtown Express it was only “if [P.S. 150] does move. We’re still reviewing that.”

Community Board 1 has asked the Dept. of Education to keep P.S. 150 somewhere in Lower Manhattan.

Children who do not get seats in their zoned school maintain the “right of return” if space opens up there in subsequent grades.

P.S. 89 will be taking two extra kindergarten classes for a total of five. Education officials said the school would be able to sustain the extra classes for one grade, and principal Ronnie Najjar agreed, saying she wanted to help the other schools.

P.S. 150 will have two kindergarten classes next year, giving up a room shared for occupational therapy, reading specialists and the school psychologists.