Waitlist Drama

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What do you get when you mix waitlists, gifted programs and one of the most sought-after kindergartens in the city?

Our guess is one group of ticked off parents, who seem to be spoiling for a fight with the Department of Education officials attending tonight"s meeting at Wagner Middle School.

At the epicenter of the storm is P.S. 290, one of the city"s top primary schools, which waitlisted more students from the catchment zone this year (103) than it placed in kindergarten classes (92). Parents are furious that, unlike some other East Side schools, an additional class has not been added to P.S. 290 to deal with the huge influx of students, and that various rezoning plans under consideration were not implemented before kindergarten registration began.

The department has said that waitlists at all the overcrowded schools, which also include P.S.183 and P.S. 6 in District 2, should shrink significantly once students enroll in private schools and gifted programs, opening up more spots. But according to a press release put out by a parent group, as of April 20, gifted scores had not been released, leaving families little time to check out the various programs for which they"ve qualified; the application deadline is April 30.

The department did not immediately return a call for comment about the status of the scores.

The meeting, which is expected to give an update on the waitlists, and discuss procedures and timelines for enrollment, is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight in the auditorium at Wagner Middle School, 220 E. 76th St., between Second and Third avenues.