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What you need to know for 01/17/2017

Schenectady schools: You got a kindergartner for us?

Schenectady schools: You got a kindergartner for us?

Wanted: about 200 kindergartners.

Wanted: about 200 kindergartners.

They’re living somewhere in Schenectady, but they haven’t registered for school yet. And school officials are worried that some of them — perhaps dozens of them — will show up at the last minute.

“Or three days after school starts,” spokeswoman Karen Corona said.

In recent years, a sudden influx of last-minute kindergartners has caused serious complications for the district, which had to scramble to create new classrooms.

This year, only 670 kindergartners are registered. The district expects 850 students on the first day of school.

But those numbers could be wrong — and a change of even 20 students would require another classroom. Right now, the district has 867 kindergartners.

So district officials really need to know how many students they will have in the fall.

Early enrollment has been very slow. Of the 670 students who are on next year’s kindergarten list, only 100 actually registered. The rest are in preschool programs with Head Start and the district, and were thus automatically added to the kindergarten roster.

The district has based its guess of 850 students on the typical kindergarten class, the number of younger siblings reported by parents of children already enrolled in the district, and on a census taken three years ago. The district does not regularly survey the city to get a count of 4-year-olds.

Next year's kindergartners must turn 5 by Dec. 1.

To register, parents must go to the McClellan Campus of Ellis Hospital, 600 McClellan St. There, they can get all needed immunizations and fill out the necessary school forms. They will be immediately told which school their child will be attending.

But that procedure will change later this summer.

Complications loom

In July, the registration center will move to a new location. Then, parents might have to make two stops: first at the doctor’s office to get their child’s vaccines, and then at the school district to sign up for kindergarten.

And school assignments will get more complicated, too. When the schools fill up, students will be assigned to an early learning center instead of their neighborhood elementary school. In those cases, parents might not immediately find out where their child is going to school.

“Neighborhood and home schools that have kindergartens, they have limited space available,” spokeswoman Karen Corona said.

Children assigned to an early learning center may qualify for busing, if the school is too far away for them to walk.

But the district needs time to set that up, Corona said.

“We need to plan, so it’s even more important to get that done early,” she said.

Parents who enroll late may also miss orientation sessions and letters from their student’s new teacher.

“You’ve got the whole summer to do the orientation. It’s hard to plan for things like that when you don’t know which school your student is going to,” Corona said. “The teacher communication — you miss out on that.”

Registration paperwork

Parents can find all the registration paperwork on the district’s website, www.schenectady.k12.ny.us/CentralRegistration.htm.

The paperwork is also available at the registration site, but parents should make sure to bring certain documents with them.

They need the child’s birth certificate, physical and immunization record, their own ID and proof of residency.

A driver’s license does not serve as proof of residency; they must have a recent bill or lease listing their current address.

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