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62 percent of applicants get a public-school pre-K match, but many left waiting

The city began the complicated process of assigning next year’s pre-kindergarten students to seats on Thursday, telling 19,689 families that their child had landed a spot in a full-day, public school program.

Sixty-two percent of applicants were matched to a public school seat, including the 4,300 full-day seats added as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pre-K expansion. But that left thousands of applicants without a match, and the city’s numbers show a wide variation in where students had luck getting accepted to public school programs.

Brooklyn’s District 16, which includes much of Bedford-Stuyvesant, saw the highest percentage of students matched, with 91 percent of applicants placed in a public school program. In Queens’ District 24, where most elementary schools are overcrowded, only 30 percent of applicants were placed in a public school program.

Overall, 45 percent of applicants were placed in their first-choice school, while another 18 percent were placed in another of the schools they ranked. Still, public school programs only account for about 40 percent of the total pre-K spots the city expects to have available next fall.

Twenty-five thousand more seats will be available through community-based early childhood care programs for the students across the city who were not placed in a public school program and for thousands more who have applied directly to those community organizations.

Across the city, 97 percent of all available public school pre-K seats were filled, up from 91 percent a year ago.

“Today is a huge milestone—but it’s not the end of the road,” de Blasio said in a statement.

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