Parents whose children are currently on the wait list for a kindergarten spot at downtown’s overcrowded PS 276 should know they have options. Why, just down the street, there’s a lovely private school called the Learning Experience Children’s Academy, and it’s almost exactly like a public school — its program is modeled on the Department of Education’s kindergarten core curriculum — plus it caps class sizes at sixteen kids. The only real difference is the annual $16,000-a-year fee, a point that went unmentioned in an e-mail sent out by PS 276’s administrators to the aforementioned wait-listed parents, whom they advised to check out the just-opened hall of learning:
“For [them] to tell us to consider private is just unconscionable,” said Karen Behrens, whose 4-year-old daughter is wait-listed at PS 276. “That’s not why we’re living in lower Manhattan, paying the rents we pay, the taxes we pay, to live down there. We live down there for the schools.”
Or, as City Councilwoman Margaret Chin put it, “We need more school seats, not a presumption that because these families live downtown they can shell out tens of thousands of dollars for private school.” PS 276 has since written a follow-up e-mail in which the principal said, “We are confident that all children on the wait list will receive the opportunity to attend an excellent NYCDOE elementary school.” But probably not hers.