The Shapiro twins were among about three dozen children put on a waiting list at P.S. 290 in what parents and public officials in some of New York’s priciest precincts fear will become the first season in which Manhattan children will be turned away from their neighborhood schools. The combination of overcrowded classrooms in neighborhoods newly inundated with young children, a recession that is causing some families to rethink expensive private schools, and a new citywide admissions process that requires people to sign up for kindergarten earlier has spread fear of lotteries and rejections across playgrounds and online discussion groups.
“In the past there was anxiety on the part of parents who had a zoned school they considered not desirable,” said Robin Aronow, who runs a school admissions consulting firm, School Search NYC. “Now that anxiety has stretched its way to even the families who have a desirable option, about whether that option will be available.”