Applications for school-based pre-K up 36 percent, city says

Applications for public school pre-kindergarten are up 36 percent over last year, the Department of Education announced Thursday. Overall, 41,603 applications came in for seats in public school pre-K programs after the city extended the deadline by three weeks.

Under Mayor de Blasio’s pre-K expansion plan, the city plans to offer 53,604 pre-K seats this fall—but only 20,387 of those will be in public schools. The majority of seats will be provided by community-based organizations, which haven’t begun accepting applications yet.

That division between schools and CBOs means most of those who have already applied won’t get seats at the schools they applied to. But it does leave plenty of room across the city: even if every pre-K applicant who applied is eventually assigned a seat, about 12,000 vacancies remain.

The figures marked the conclusion of the city’s first round of pre-K student recruitment, which was delayed because of funding uncertainty in state budget negotiations. Officials said that families will also be able to apply to public school pre-K programs in June by going to schools directly, and community-based organizations will begin accepting applications individually tomorrow.

“This is the beginning of many more full-day pre-K options in Community-Based Early Childhood Centers and in our public schools, and we’ll continue our extensive outreach to families as we roll out additional options for four-year-olds across the City,” Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement.