Fed up city families are fleeing one of the city’s top academic districts in droves.
Coveted schools in Manhattan’s District 2 are hemorrhaging students — with some seeing stunning drops of more than 100 kids this year, The Post has learned.
At PS 41 in Greenwich Village, long considered a premier elementary school with lengthy waiting lists, enrollment has plunged from 613 to 504 this year, internal data says.
Leonard Silverman, a member of Community Education Council 2, a parental advisory board, called the situation an “existential crisis.”
“It’s deeply troubling,” he said. “This represents a real loss of confidence in our city and our leaders. It’s mind boggling to think about these numbers.”
During a ZOOM conference call last week with district PTA presidents, a Department of Education Family Leadership Coordinator said that District 2 elementary schools have shed between 50 and 100 families each.
“These are people we need to rebuild the city,” Silverman said. “Young families with children. They are leaving because they can lo longer depend on our education system. It’s frightening.”
District sources said some parents have left the city outright while others have turned to private and parochial schools to educate their children.
Since school funding is tied to enrollment, principals are facing the specter of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts to their already depleted coffers.
“Parents and principals are left in the dark about how the decreased enrollment will impact budgets,” said another District 2 source. “A 20 percent decline in enrollment could reduce a budget by half a million dollars at a time of already shrinking budgets.”
District sources said concerns with the DOE’s stewardship were already cresting prior to the coronavirus crisis.
Parents in favor of competitive admissions said they opposed DOE initiatives aimed at scrapping academic screens and District 2 played host to heated meetings on proposed diversity plans and other changes.
“It’s been an accumulation,” said a district parent. “There was already a lot of frustration. When you add the way the DOE has handled the school reopening and all the uncertainty this year, it pushed people over the edge. There’s only so much a parent is willing to tolerate when it comes to their children.”
Silverman said the DOE was failing to address the ongoing exodus.
“They are ignoring a fundamental reality that are losing a good portion of families at a number of schools,” he said. “This is an existential threat to our city.”
A DOE spokesperson said Thursday that enrollment numbers are still fluctuating and noted that overall student populations have decreased in recent years.
“Given the diversity of New York City, we know that our families are facing many different circumstances and ultimately parents make the best decisions for their children,” said Katie O’Hanlon. “We will continue to support all public schools and their families, as they continue to navigate the pandemic, especially the hundreds of thousands of students who rely on the resources they get every day from their school community, both in person and remotely.”