More than 100 kids on pre-K waiting list in Hoboken

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More than 100 kids on pre-K waiting list in Hoboken

HOBOKEN — According to Superintendent of Schools Christine Johnson, the district’s state-funded pre-K3 and pre-K4 classes are completely full for the coming year, and there are 140 students on the “pending placement” list (a.k.a the wait list).
The district received funding to provide free pre-school to 885 students, based on the previous year’s first grade enrollment figures. The funds are given to approximately 30 school districts in the state based on a series of state Supreme Court decisions in the 1970s through 1990s meant to make sure kids in poorer school districts received the same “thorough and efficient” education as those in wealthier districts.
The district is required to provide certain programs including full-day kindergarten and pre-school.
As more families have begun staying in Hoboken, the program has been increasingly popular.
Each spring, the district holds a lottery system for student placement. Lower-income families who qualify for Head Start, children with special needs, and children whose sibling is already in the district receive priority.
Johnson said there are no special needs, low-income students, or siblings on the wait list.
She said typically, the list has been between 90 and 150 students long. She said if families move away, seats open up.
“We already placed about 24 children who were on the waiting list into seats vacated by families who either moved out of the district or who have decided to send their child elsewhere,” said Johnson. But the list climbed back to the original number of 140 as 24 new families moved into town.
She said the list is updated twice a month, roughly on the 15th and 30th, and families are given a student ID number so they can track where they are on the list.
“It was really important to me that we make the process as transparent as possible,” said Johnson, who added that this is the second year the list was made available online for families to view.
She said families on the list shouldn’t lose hope of being placed throughout the year.
For more on this story, check out the next edition of the Hoboken Reporter, to be delivered around town starting this Thursday and Friday. Look for it in the white plastic bags with the supermarket coupons.
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