More than 900 4-year-olds and their families applied for pre-K this year, but there were only 596 seats available on the Upper East Side, meaning that 300 students and their parents must travel outside the neighborhood to get to school, according to City Councilman Ben Kallos.
We are writing to strongly urge the Department of Education to take all feasible steps to provide pre-kindergarten seats in the community for all the four-year-olds living on the Upper East Side (59th to 96th Street) who applied for the 2017–2018 school year. We are deeply concerned that if the number of pre-kindergarten classes is not significantly increased, hundreds of families will be left without realistic options.
While some of that information is already publicly available, Kallos wants to gather more details and make it available in a single report.
He also hopes to expand the bill to include information about Pre-K for All applications to help reveal what he sees as unmet need. Kallos said that 54 percent of families who applied for pre-K on the Upper East Side, part of his district, were not offered seats in their zip code in 2015.
“The Mayor’s promise of ‘Pre-Kindergarten for All’ must include enough seats in every neighborhood,” Kallos said in a statement. “Parents in my district are giving up on our public schools and with it our government, and parents who can’t afford private school are being forced out.”
City Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents a broad swath of Midtown East and the Upper East Side, on Wednesday introduced a bill requiring expanded disclosure on school enrollment, part of an effort to address a space crunch that has half of the city's public school students attending overcrowded schools.
Under the terms of the proposed bill, the Department of Education would make publicly available aggregated and disaggregated data on the number of applications and admissions granted for each school in the city, as well as enrollment numbers and expected open seats for the next school year. This data would be further broken down by grade level and the community school and council districts of residence for students, as well as their zip codes.
"We need to better track what schools people are applying to, how many folks are being turned away from schools, and have a better sense of where they're ending up so we can re-adjust programming," Kallos told Gothamist.
Geographic Diversity Would Be Added as Measure in NYC Public Schools
New York, NY – The number of children from each neighborhood who apply to attend a particular school, the number of seats available at each school, how many offers of admission were made, and total enrollment in all public schools would be counted under a new bill from Council Member Ben Kallos. The legislation will be heard in a February 28, 2017 hearing of the Committee on Education titled “School Planning and Siting for New Capacity.”
Councilman Ben Kallos is expected to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would require the Education Department to release additional data such as the number of applications each school receives, how many offers it extends and where students live. Credit Emon Hassan for The New York Times
Mr. Kallos said that his constituents routinely complain of being turned away from nearby prekindergarten classrooms or gifted and talented programs, for which they have qualified, because there is not enough room.
This legislation would show where students end up when they leave their neighborhoods to attend school, as many do. Mr. Kallos said that most elementary schools in his district were populated with students from the area, but at Ella Baker School, at 317 East 67th Street, which serves students from prekindergarten through eighth grade, most of the students are from elsewhere.
For more information contact:
M. Ndigo Washington/646.730.6709 cell
On Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 12:00pm on the steps of City Hall, Councilwoman Inez Barron, Chair of the Committee on Higher Education will be joined by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, other Elected Officials and Student Leaders to announce the passage of Intro 1138-A. Invited speakers include: State Assemblyman Charles Barron, Public Advocate Letitia James, Chancellor James B. Milliken, University Student Chair Chika Onyejiukwa and Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen.
"Access to a college education is access to opportunity," said Council Member Ben Kallos, a public university graduate. "Unfortunately, as college tuition is increasing everywhere, even in our City's public university system, that opportunity is shrinking. By examining how to maximize affordability at CUNY schools, Introduction 1138-A will go a long way toward ensuring opportunity through education remains within reach to all."
Community Involvement in Action
GBS students are taught about the importance of community involvement and being informed about current events. When Joey and Eli shared their concern about the increasing number of track fires in the subway system, they decided to take action in the local community. Working together, they hand wrote a letter, which we shared with our local City Council member, Ben Kallos. Councilman Kallos invited Joey and Eli to come and pick him up in his office, where they got to take a tour. Then, Councilman Kallos came with us back to Gillen Brewer, where Joey and Eli gave him a tour of the school. After the tour, Councilman Kallos visited the Puffins classroom to discuss this civic issu`e and to answer questions from the students.
Combined with the 90 seats added by fellow Councilman Ben Kallos — whose district borders Garodnick’s on the Upper East Side — back in May, there has certainly been an improvement, but a 2014 WNYC report estimated that there are 2,118 four-year-olds in Kallos’ district, the majority of whom will have to go far outside their neighborhoods for pre-k.
"We've got an additional 18 pre-kindergarten seats in my district and 54 more on the Upper East Side thanks to a strong partnership between the Department of Education, the City Council and parents. Thank you to Chancellor Farina, Deputy Chancellor Wallack, Principal Tara Napoleoni, and parents for working with my office to add 18 pre-kindergarten seats at P.S. 183 in my district and another 36 seats at P.S. 6 serving the Upper East Side," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Universal Pre-Kindergarten provides four year-olds throughout our city with early learning they need to get a head start in life and the childcare families need. I hope that we will soon be able meet this year's need and keep work so that every parent can apply for universal pre-kindergarten next year and know they will have seat waiting in the neighborhood for their child."
The expectation that Manhattan will have fewer students going to public schools might result in a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” worried City Councilman Ben Kallos, whose Upper East Side neighborhood is short 2,000 pre-K seats, forcing many parents to commute with their 4-year-olds in the morning rush to free programs in Lower Manhattan or pay a high price for private programs nearby.
4. A school has to be significantly overcrowded before the years-long process of building a new one can begin.
The city won’t consider building a new school until there’s a 5 percent increase in an existing school’s population, School Construction Authority president Lorraine Grillo told City Council members at budget hearings this week.
Parents at P.S. 183, who worked with Councilman Ben Kallos to increase the total seats on the Upper East Side from just over 123 to 515 since 2014, say they are relieved to have more pre-K seats because it can be tough getting a spot in the neighborhood.
"As an Upper East Side parent, I am concerned not only about the chances of my own child obtaining a pre-K spot in the neighborhood but also about the children of my friends and neighbors," resident Ariel Chesler said. "That is why I have been speaking out about the insufficient number of seats in the area."
For more than a year, members of the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network, which advocates for more than 500 families' needs, also worked to get more free pre-K seats on the island, according to member Eva Bosbach.
New York, NY – Ninety more 4-year-olds will have free pre-kindergarten seats on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island thanks to the efforts of Council Member Ben Kallos who organized parents and children to identify new providers to which parents pledged to send children.
Of the 90 new seats, 54 will be at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery and 36 seats will be at the Manhattan Schoolhouse in the Upper East Side. This is an increase over the 425 seats previously offered on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island for the school year starting in September of 2016 to 515.
Parents can apply for Round 2 of Universal Pre-Kindergarten starting on May 2, 2016, including families who already applied, accepted an offer, or have not yet applied. “Universal Pre-Kindergarten means having a seat for every four year old in their neighborhood where children can get an education and parents get the help they need in order to afford to live, work and raise a family in the city,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Eva Bosbach of the Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network as well as Ariel Chesler and Jack Moran of P.S. 183 for working with me, parents, children, providers, and the Department of Education to bring Universal Pre-Kindergarten to the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.”
New York, NY—Nearly 2,000 Upper East Side residents 14 and over turned out in person or online to vote on how to spend $1 million in tax dollars to improve the community as part of “Participatory Budgeting.” Residents were able to vote in the district office 7 days a week as well as at 17 mobile “pop-up” voting locations, by absentee and even online. This is the third year of Participatory Budgeting and the results were:
- $500,000 – 802 votes – Green Roof at P.S. 290 the Manhattan New School (MNS)
- $350,000 – 768 votes – Laptop Carts for 10 schools on the Upper East Side P.S. 77, P.S 198, P.S 290, P.S/I.S 217, M. 225, Eleanor Roosevelt, Urban Academy, Vanguard, Manhattan International and Life Sciences serving over 5,000 students.
The $500,000 for P.S. 290 adds to $1 million previously allocated by Council Member Kallos for a green roof at the location, where the project cost is estimated at $2.8 million. This allocation brings the school to the half-way point during Kallos’ third year in office.
Nearly 2,000 Upper East Side residents 14 and over turned out in person or online to vote on how to spend $1 million in tax dollars to improve the community as part of “Participatory Budgeting.” Residents were able to vote in the district office 7 days a week as well as at 17 mobile “pop-up” voting locations, by absentee and even online.
“Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) continue to be where residents are voting to invest their tax dollars to prepare our children for the future,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Participatory Budgeting Delegates for leading the process as well as residents 14 and over for voting.”
UPPER EAST SIDE — Local schools are set to get $1 million for more laptops and new green roofs, thanks to votes from their neighbors.
The funds have been earmarked for 10 local schools, after about 2,000 residents voted on how they believe $1 million from City Councilman Ben Kallos'participatory budgeting program should be spent.
The Manhattan New School/P.S. 290, at 311 E. 82nd St., will get $500,000 to finish its green roof, which school officials call a "desperately needed playspace." The school won $500,000 for the $1 million project last spring.
The nasty 2016 presidential race may be too hot to handle for city school kids. Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña said Wednesday she’s worried children will get bullied if schools hold a mock election this year. “My concern about mock elections this year goes back to bullying,” she said. “Unless this is done right, this could be something else that is going to create more contention.” Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) asked the schools boss to conduct a mock election and let kids cast ballots for their presidential favorites as a way to boost civic engagement.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said Wednesday she is concerned that holding mock presidential elections in schools could lead to the type of bullying common in the real race for the White House.