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Schenectady schools to expand pre-K classes

Schenectady schools to expand pre-K classes

Classes would be added at Hamilton, MLK
Schenectady schools to expand pre-K classes
Hamilton Elementary in Schenectady.
Photographer: Eric Jenks/For The Daily Gazette

Schenectady schools plan to add new full-day pre-kindergarten classes at Hamilton and Martin Luther King elementary schools in January, thanks to more than $410,000 in state funds announced Wednesday.

The district was one of 16 districts to split $5 million in funds to expand pre-K offerings. Canajoharie schools received nearly $80,000 from the state for more pre-K classes.

"We are happy we are able to expand this opportunity," Schenectady spokeswoman Karen Corona said. "We know that parents prefer full-day pre-K, and we know we won't have a problem filling up the additional spaces."

Corona said the district plans to expand pre-K at those two schools, both of which already offer one full-day class, because those schools have the largest waiting lists for pre-K spots and are among the district's highest-need schools. Meanwhile, Howe, Paige, Woodlawn and Zoller elementary schools offer only half-day classes.

Districtwide, there are 39 students on wait lists for full-day spots, 13 of whom would attend Hamilton and six of whom would attend MLK, Corona said. The district would fill the new classes, which would include 18 students and begin as early as January, from the waitlists and then solicit registrants from within the respective school zones, expanding to other zones if they were unable to fill from Hamilton and MLK families. 

Corona said the principals of Hamilton and MLK are exploring options for where to put the classes in already-full schools. If space is unavailable within the schools, Corona said the district will explore housing the new classes at different district schools or in a nearby facility.

"We are hoping we can find space within the two schools," she said.

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