July 7, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
The Gantry Parent Association is rallying local parents to call up the Department of Education and voice concerns over ongoing pre-K waitlists in Long Island City.
The GPA released a “call to action” yesterday asking parents to call District 30 Superintendent Philip Composto, as well as the executive superintendent and chief of staff at the Division of Family and Community Engagement, to “underscore the message that action must be taken swiftly to find more seats for all waitlisted children.”
After Round 1 pre-K applications, there were an estimated 133 students waitlisted at the PS 78 pre-K program, as the LIC Post reported in May. The Round 2 application period ended May 20; the DOE did not respond to an inquiry regarding the current waitlist.
The nearby pre-K center Lolly’s Early Childhood Center has a 15-student waitlist, according to the receptionist, who added that it is “highly unlikely” anyone will be accepted off that list.
GPA President Jennifer Theien said one of her children is number 76 on the waitlist at PS 78.
She said that her alternate options were to send her children to pre-Ks at PS 76 or PS 111, both located near the Roosevelt Island Bridge, which was unfeasible for her with another kindergartener at PS 78.
“[I would] be spending my whole day picking up two children and dropping them off,” she said. “It takes a toll on the family.”
The goal of the phone call campaign is to press the DOE to respond to the lack of local pre-K seats, Theien said.
“It’s not a surprise. This community has been growing every single year, and every single years there’s a problem with pre-K,” she said. “We need more classes, we need more seats.”
A GPA petition launched in May for additional pre-K seats in the area garnered nearly 1,000 signatures.
The DOE did not respond to requests for comment on this story.