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Gotbaum Calls for Pre-K Admissions Overhaul

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is calling on the Department of Education to overhaul its centralized pre-kindergarten admissions process. She contends that her office has received numerous complaints from parents who say their children were unfairly shut out of schools of their choice.

At a press conference, Gotbaum was joined by a group of parents who say they followed the admissions guidelines but were still rejected. Brooklyn Parent Dennis Vargas says his youngest daughter was refused admittance to their zoned school P.S. 39, where her two other siblings attend.

VARGAS: Although my forms were filled out correctly and and sent before the deadline my child was rejected with no explanation or apology.

REPORTER: Parents say they want the DOE to abandon the centralized process and give control back to local schools. Gotbaum has also asked that the current June 13 deadline be extended and the appeals process improved.

A DOE spokesman says only 3,000 of the 20,000 pre-k applicants did not get the schools of their choice. He also said they're continuing to reevaluate applications where mistakes could have been made.

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