NYC families on 3-K waitlist fuming at lack of clarity from the city

metro, us news, city hall, department of education, eric adams, new york, new york city, schools, nyc families on 3-k waitlist fuming at lack of clarity from the city

Thousands of Big Apple families have been waitlisted for the city's free 3-K program -- and many are fuming at what they say is a lack of clarity about the future of their toddlers' education. Krakenimages.com - stock.adobe.com

Thousands of Big Apple families have been waitlisted for the city’s free 3-K program — and many are fuming at what they say is a lack of clarity about the future of their toddlers’ education.

The city Department of Education confirmed that while 94% of the 43,000 applicants for 3-K had been given offers, about 2,400 families were left without a placement last week.

“We did not get in anywhere… so it’s most likely we will not get a spot for this year,” one such city parent, Ken Anderson, told The Post Thursday.

metro, us news, city hall, department of education, eric adams, new york, new york city, schools, nyc families on 3-k waitlist fuming at lack of clarity from the city
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The city Department of Education confirmed that while 94% of the 43,000 applicants for 3-K had been given offers, about 2,400 families were left without a placement last week. Andrew Schwartz / SplashNews.com

Anderson noted that most of the information he’s received about the application process has come from other parents, not the DOE.

“They advertise that there are thousands of empty places and every kid will get a spot but then, OK if that’s true, where are they? And if there are, then how far are we supposed to travel?” he asked.

Mayor Eric Adams has vowed that every child who wants a seat in a 3-K program will get one, and City Hall has scrambled to reassure parents that there are still 9,000 spots available — although their location remains shrouded in mystery.

It means some kids who didn’t get their first choice, landing on the waitlist, could be forced into lengthy commutes if they accept a secondary option.

And as the June 14 deadline to accept 3-K offers looms, many families have been left wondering what to do about impractical offers they’ve received.

A Roosevelt Island resident said he listed 12 schools during the application process, and his child was given a spot in a program that is a 50 minute commute from their home, and which refused to allow him and his wife to tour the location.

“We feel that, to a point, we’ve been lied to where we felt that there was a reasonable opportunity to get a good 3-K program and the reality is we’re not and we’re not the only ones,” said the parent who asked not to be identified.

metro, us news, city hall, department of education, eric adams, new york, new york city, schools, nyc families on 3-k waitlist fuming at lack of clarity from the city
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“We did not get in anywhere… so it’s most likely we will not get a spot for this year,” one such city parent, Ken Anderson, told The Post Thursday. Oulaphone – stock.adobe.com

“We have no idea what we’re supposed to do with our child if we don’t have a 3-K option.”

The parent fumed that: “Adams is a disaster and a disappointment to parents.”

Councilwoman Julie Won (D-Brooklyn) said she’s heard from hundreds of parents in her district who have expressed frustration and anger over the lack of clarity.

“[They’re] asking ‘why is this school in my district full of kids from another neighborhood?’ and I constantly have to explain to them that 3-K is not zoned,” she said.

Won said parents from any of the five boroughs can apply for schools across New York City and don’t necessarily have to be given a spot in their district.

She also noted that borough maps are deceiving and could potentially place some families in seats that while seem close, could result in expensive or often, unachievable, commutes.

“If you don’t live in my district, you might look at Sunnyside and then Maspeth and be like, ‘Oh, close enough,’ but there’s no public transportation between the two neighborhoods that really go there,” she said.

metro, us news, city hall, department of education, eric adams, new york, new york city, schools, nyc families on 3-k waitlist fuming at lack of clarity from the city
3

Mayor Eric Adams has vowed that every child who wants a seat in a 3-K program will get one, and City Hall has scrambled to reassure parents that there are still 9,000 spots available. Robert Miller

“So you’re gonna have to trek on a bus and then transfer to another bus to get your 3-K and if you don’t have a car, then I guess, too bad.”

DOE spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said that more than 200 parents who did not initially receive an offer have one now, but could not provide information on where those options were located, noting they “do not have information available on seat distribution at this time.”

It comes as city officials failed to provide a timeline for a costly report from consulting firm Accenture that would help “map out needs and seats” for the 3-K program.

During a recent education hearing with council, officials back pedaled from the initial $760,000 they claimed to have paid for the report citing a significantly lower figure of “$350,000 or $250,000,” as they fumbled to provide a timeline on its release.

Additional reporting from Haley Brown

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