For those of you who aren't familiar with the New York school system, that means that if we want to send her to private prekindergarten, we should have completed and submitted applications sometime back in 2004. Seriously?
Every city has its competitive parents and school snobs but NYC has to be in a complete other universe for this kind of stuff. VERY few public schools in Manhattan are places you'd send your child if you could avoid it. When Ex and I split, I moved into a neighborhood that actually has a very good public school and we agreed to send M there. Of course, the rents in that neighborhood are 25% higher than non-good school 'hoods. They get you one way or another.
Here's the trick though: pre-k (4 year old kindergarten) is NOT mandatory in the state of NY. Kindergarten for that matter either. That means the schools don't have to offer it. The school is our 'hood does, but only has a certain number of slots, thus you have to apply and cross your fingers. Because siblings of kids already attending the school have first priority, Miss M has about as good a chance of getting in as I do of winning the Powerball. In normal economic conditions this wouldn't have been a problem, but because a lot of people have lost their jobs and pulled their kids out of private school, public schools are ridiculously overcrowded.
Ex and I now have to find a back up plan, which means applying to private schools which have already closed their application process. Luckily, the overcrowding of public schools means there are private spots, but of course, that comes at a price. The least expensive private school we can find is about $7000 a year. The most expensive (you can bet Ex wants us to apply there but no chance I will do that) is $27,000! For a four year old!!! Can you say ridiculously stupid! The name of the school says it all: The Towne School. That extra "e" has to be good for at least $10,000.
Here's what I don't understand: how can the education be THAT much better at 4 years old? I went to private school up until high school and was somewhat ahead of the other kids by the time I got to the 9th grade, so I get it to a point, but $27,000? And it gets up into the $40,000's as the kids get older. Manhattan is another planet.
So, Ex and I get so spend A LOT of time together. FUN, FUN! We're getting along marginally better these days, mainly because we've had minimal contact but that's about to change. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'm going to have to meditate on patience and tolerance a lot, both for dealing with Ex and the snotty private school people.