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What to know about applying for a public pre-k seat

New York families have until Wednesday to apply online for public school prekindergarten programs as part of the city's expansion of full-day seats.

de blasio pre k Mayor Bill de Blasio, with Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, reads to a prekindergarten class at a public school in Queens this month.
Credit: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York families have until Wednesday to apply online for public school prekindergarten programs as part of the city's expansion of full-day seats.

State lawmakers have allocated $300 million per year for the next five years to fund universal pre-k, allowing the city to add 4,268 new full-day seats in public schools across the five boroughs this fall.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials urged families to apply for the the seats on Monday.


"Pre-k is that strong foundation for lifetime learning," he said at the Riverside Neighborhood House in the Bronx. "And you're going to see in the next few years, we'll start to not only improve the lives of children and families individually, it's going to start to bring up our school system overall."

Here's what to know about applying for a public pre-k seat:

--Submit an application online or apply in person at an enrollment office by Wednesday.

--The deadline to apply online is Wednesday, April 23, at 11:59 p.m. The deadline to apply at an enrollment office in person is 3 p.m.

--Families can apply for children turning 4 years old this year.

--Pre-k programs can either be full-day, 6 hours and 20 minutes, or "half day" in the morning or afternoon for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

--Familes of students with disabilities may apply to all the pre-k programs according to standard admissions.

--Admission isn't first-come, first-served -- all applications received by the deadline are treated the same.

--Admissions decisions will be sent to families in June, with pre-registration taking place from June 9 to 20.

-- After the pre-registration period in June, families can apply for public pre-k seats directly at schools. (The Department of Education will also launch a survey online this Thursday to determine need and interest for families who missed the initial deadline.)

--Students will be considered for placement based on several admissions priorities, including:

* Living in the same area as the program

* Having a sibling at the same school

* Not having pre-k at a student's zoned school

--Visit an enrollment offices from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m Monday through Wednesday this week for help applying. Locations:

* Bronx:1 Fordham Plaza, 7th floor, in Fordham and 1230 Zerega Ave. in Unionport

* Brooklyn: 1780 Ocean Ave. in Midwood, 415 89th St. in Bay Ridge, 29 Fort Greene Pl. in Fort Greene, 1665 St. Mark’s Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant and 131 Livingston St. in downtown Brooklyn

* Manhattan: 333 Seventh Ave., 12th floor, in Chelsea and 388 W. 125th St., 7th floor, in Harlem

* Queens: 28-11 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, 30-48 Linden Pl. in Flushing and 90-27 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica

* Staten Island: 715 Ocean Terrace, Building A

--In June, the city will release information about additional full-day pre-k options through community-based organizations.

--Families can apply for both public pre-k seats and at community organizations.

--For more information, visit the Department of Education's website, text "prek" to 877877, call 311 and 718-935-2009 or email ES_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders

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