The number of incoming kindergarteners waitlisted at their local school fell by 45 percent this year, New York City’s education department announced Thursday.
Meanwhile, for a third straight year, 10 percent of kindergarten applicants were shut out of all the schools they applied to completely.
Just 590 kindergarten applicants were placed on waitlists this year, compared to 1,083 a year ago, according to the city’s admissions tally. (See all the schools with waitlists here.) Overall, 67,728 families applied for kindergarten by the Jan. 19 deadline — more than 1,400 fewer than applied on time last year.
City officials said they attribute the decline in applications to a fluctuation in the school-age population, rather than an obstacle in getting families to apply. Last year’s pre-kindergarten population was smaller than the previous year’s, so a smaller kindergarten class was expected, according to Doug Cohen, a Department of Education spokesman.
Not many schools are affected by the declining waitlist numbers: There are 50 schools with kindergarten waitlists this year, compared to 54 a year ago.
Waitlists typically clear over the spring and summer, as families opt for schools outside of their zone, including private or charter schools, or relocate out of the city. But each year, some kindergartners are assigned to schools outside of their zone — an issue that typically affects a few crowded neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn.
Half of the schools with waitlists had five or fewer children on them. Three schools had waitlists with more than 60 children: PS 196 and P.S. 78 in Queens and P.S. 160 in Brooklyn.