May 14, 2018 By Tara Law
Weeks after kindergarten placement letters were sent out, parents of 34 children are still waiting to find out if their children will get a seat at P.S. 196Q.
The waitlist for the highly regarded school at 71-25 113th St. peaked at 63 at the time parents received kindergarten placement letters on March 22— up from the waitlist’s crest at 56 last year.
The list has since dropped to 34 children in the weeks since. Douglas Cohen, a Department of Education spokesperson, attributed the change to the school shuffling the classes and students taking offers at other schools such as P.S. 99Q, 174Q and local private schools. The list is likely to continue to shrink over the next few months, Cohen said.
Aggrieved parents formed an online petition in March to push the Department of Education to find seats for all children zoned for P.S. 196Q that was signed by nearly 300 people. Parents launched similar petitions in 2015 and 2017.
One of the parents who signed this year’s petition was Vicki Lynn, whose son is still on the waitlist for the school. Lynn was not surprised when her son was waitlisted but has been disappointed with the lack of clarity over the last few months.
“I knew it was a possibility because it happened to people last year,” Lynn said. “I wish we had a little more certainty.”
The quality of the school was one of the reasons her family chose to live in the neighborhood, Lynn said. The quality of P.S.196 Q programs, including certain language programs and coding classes for the younger grades, are not available at other neighborhood schools.
For the moment, Lynn is considering sending her son to P.S. 99 or to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic School.
Lynn is likely to go through the whole process again in three years time. She has a 2-year-old daughter.
The Department of Education, however, is looking into a permanent solution to cope with the demand for seats at P.S. 196Q— a school addition.
Douglas Cohen, a spokesperson for the Dept. of Education, said that a proposed expansion of P.S. 196 is in the department’s current capital plan, but did not elaborate on the project.
The Department of Education is currently negotiating with the Parks Department to possibly expand the school onto land controlled by that department, said Michael Cohen, a spokesperson for Councilmember Karen Koslowitz’s office. He was unable specifically say where the parcel of land is located.