The line to register a student in grades 1 through 8 at the Penn Alexander School began at 7:30 a.m. today, more than 24 hours before registration begins.
As of 9 p.m. this evening about 20 people had set up camping chairs along the school’s fence along Locust Street between 42nd and 43rd. A clipboard hung from the fence near the school entrance. Several parents, who will spend the night waiting in line in hopes of getting a spot in the school’s crowded lower grades, had been in line by 5 p.m.
“I feel like an idiot,” said one parent, a Penn professor who recently returned from sabbatical leave to realize he had to re-register his 3rd and 5th graders at the school. “I can’t speak for everyone here, but personally I feel like an idiot.”
Several parents in the line faulted the school for its reluctance to address the overcrowding problem. Suggestions have ranged from starting a lottery for the lower grades to expanding the school’s capacity by erecting temporary trailers.
Parents have often waited in line to register children at the school’s kindergarten, but the line to register students in grade school is a new phenomenon brought on by word that the school would for the first time institute a cap on lower grade levels.
Registration is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. tomorrow. School officials have already said that many who hope to register for the lower grades, particularly 1-3, will likely be turned away.