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What you need to know for 04/23/2017

Moves create openings in city pre-K program

Moves create openings in city pre-K program

There is still a large influx of children preparing for kindergarten in the Schenectady City School

There is still a large influx of children preparing for kindergarten in the Schenectady City School District in the next few years, but families moving out of the district are cutting that number a bit.

The district's free preschool program had an unprecedented five openings this month after families moved out of the city. Usually only one or two openings pop up at a time.

There were so many openings that the school district quickly advertised them, in hopes of filling the spaces. There are always families on the waiting list, but school officials suspected they wouldn't be able to find five families willing to switch schools midyear.

"A lot of families who didn't get into the program [in September] have placed their children in private care or made other arrangements," district spokeswoman Karen Corona said.

But parents said a school program was worth a mid-year switch, and five parents signed up immediately, filling the spaces within weeks.

The openings were all for half-day preschool, so there are still families on the list waiting for an opening in the full-day program. Those waiting for full-day are offered each half-day opening as they come up, but Corona said they usually decline.

School officials in recent years have tried to increase the number of preschool slots available, in hopes of getting more children ready for kindergarten. Preschool is popular, but free slots go quickly.

At Head Start, there is space for more than 320 children, ages 3 to 5. But in recent years, the agency has had more than 500 families request a space.

At the same time, the district is experiencing a baby boom, with an increase in kindergartners expected for each of the next few years.

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