West Philadelphia Parents Wait In Line For Hours To Get Kids Into Neighborhood Public School

By Pat Loeb and Dray Clark

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Parents waited in line for 24 hours for Monday’s kindergarten registration at a West Philadelphia public school, but many of them got turned away.

The demand for a slot in the school has grown steadily over the last several years.

“The opportunity to get our children here is basically the equivalent of a private education,” said Patrick Videll, a parent.

Penn-Alexander opened 10 years ago, a partnership between the school district and the University of Pennsylvania. But, in the last few years — even as families abandoned other public schools — entrance to Penn-Alexander became a competition, with the line forming earlier each year.

This year, the line started forming at 9 a.m. Sunday and savvy parents had a phone tree to alert each other.

“It was a long night, but hey, it was a sacrifice for getting your child into a great school and we’d do it again if we had too,” said Kris Love.

Unee Lee arrived at 9:30 and was 41st in line. “We got a phone call by 9:10 from my wife’s friend. She said there was already 15 ahead of us, so I just rolled up my bed and got out of my place. Already 25 filled in.”

Lee was happy; he’ll probably get one of the 60 slots, but some in the community are angry. Spruce Hill neighbors passed a resolution saying every child in the drawing area has a right to attend the school. The school district spokesman, though, says spots are limited to avoid overcrowding.

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