Around 80 Hoboken children currently on wait list for public preschool

HOBOKEN — Roughly 80 Hoboken children are still waiting for placement in the public school district’s free preschool program for the 2015-16 school year, according to Brandt School Principal Sandra Rodriguez. Hoboken’s public preschool is fully funded by the state and statutorily required to be universal, based on a court ruling mandating that certain urban school districts achieve parity with those in the suburbs. Only a limited number of classrooms can be funded, and burgeoning demand had exceeded supply in recent years.
Rodriguez said that in recent years, the district has been able to eventually seat every student on the pre-K waitlist due to enrolled children leaving Hoboken or not showing up in fall, and she expressed hopes that everyone would get off the list this year.
Rodriguez said that already, 25 of an original 105 students who were waitlisted when preschool decision letters went on May 29 have been given placement.
If, for some reason, there are not enough additional departures to make room for all of the students still on the 2015-16 waitlist, the Hoboken Public Schools have limited options available to accommodate them. Rodriguez said the district could feasibly hire a teacher and assistant teacher necessary for one additional classroom, but not for the six classrooms needed to cover all 80 students on the waitlist (pre-K classrooms are legally capped at 15 students).
According to Rodriguez, the Hoboken pre-K program has taken steps to cut administrative costs, but must deal with stagnant funding from the state. In fact, the state allotment for Hoboken’s 2015-16 pre-K program is projected to be $66,000 less than it was for 2014-15.
There are currently 52 classrooms for preschoolers in various buildings in Hoboken. They are run by the district and two private providers, Mile Square and HOPES CAP, Inc.
Rodriguez said district staff were making an effort to meet in person with the parents of every child on the pre-K waitlist and address their concerns.

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