BRICK TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A nightmare is brewing for some parents in New Jersey who thought they’d be able to send their children to preschool for free.
The acceptance was taken back due to an error, and Monday night they had to sit through a lottery all over again, reports CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
“I’m being kind by saying we’re really frustrated,” said mother Springteshya Bieniasz.
Bieniasz’s frustration comes because her 4-year-old daughter, Darren, was accepted to Brick Township’s public preschool.
But now she and the other 359 who applied have to go thru a lottery for just 150 spots all over again.
“I’m a single mom, this is state funded, it was curriculum based,” she said. “I’m waiting, hopefully she gets in tonight and I’ll see where we go from there. We already gave up her spot at her preschool currently.”
A state grant just south of $2 million is funding Brick’s first and only public preschool this fall.
But weeks after acceptance letters went out in April, the school district realized they lost 30 applications.
“New parent came forward and said I wasn’t selected nor was I on the wait list,” said superintendent Gerard Dalton. “Days later I was notified a container that was used during registration was found to have some applications in it and it was more than just that one.”
Hundreds of parents packed an auditorium Monday night for a do-over lottery drawing.
Just as it looked like their night couldn’t get any bleaker, the power in the room went out. They kept drawing numbers in the dark, to the benefit of some.
“We were accepted the first time, and luckily accepted the second time,” said mother Tara Chaiken.
Other families faced disappointment.
“My son was picked and now he didn’t, he’s out, that’s horrible,” said one distraught parent.
“We’re probably gonna have to take out a 401k loan to pay for the expensive education somewhere else,” said mother Michelle Decesare.
This time, 4-year-old Darren ended up on the wait list.
“Like a hundred students would have to not accept their spots for us to get in now,” said Bieniasz.
The superintendent says he’s sure all the applicants are included this time.
“I apologize profusely, I wish this error didn’t happen,” said Dalton. “This is not the image we want for our district.”
“Now I literally have to think am I going to leave,” said Bieniasz. “I don’t even know what I’m going to do, I really don’t.”
The superintendent says the grant requires each pre-K class to have no more than 15 students, so if they accepted any more than allotted, they could lose state funding.