Half of NYC school districts lost at least 10 percent of students

Half of all 32 New York City school districts have shed at least 10 percent of their students over the past five years, according to Department of Education data.

Spurred by parental flight, flagging birth rates and the onslaught of the coronavirus, the nation’s largest school system continues to lose kids.

Two smaller city school districts — one in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx — have each seen enrollment plummet by more than 20 percent since 2017.

District 18, which includes parts of Flatbush and Canarsie, had 16,508 student in 2017 and just 12,602 last year — a staggering drop of 23.7 percent.

District 12, which includes Crotona Park, saw enrollment crater by 21 percent over that span.

The DOE stressed Monday that unprecedented COVID-19 upheaval accounts for the bulk of departures from the system and that attrition rates accelerated during the pandemic.

“Hundreds of thousands of families choose a New York City public school to send their child to get a world-class, high-quality education,” said DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon. “We set the gold-standard in reopening and keeping kids safe during the pandemic and can’t wait to welcome everyone back to buildings this fall.”

Despite its standing as one of the top academic districts in the city, District 15 in Park Slope has also seen notable register losses in recent years

Staten Island, NY: Community members, parents, and students gather to protest a mask mandate in public schools outside P.S. 32 in Staten Island on Monday morning.
Parents protest a mask mandate in public schools outside P.S. 32 in Staten Island on July 26, 2021.
Daniel William McKnight

Overall, enrollment was down by only 5.4 percent compared to 2017. But kindergarten numbers have declined in each of the past five years — and are down by 18 percent overall during that period.

In 2017, there were 3,154 kids enrolled in the district’s kindergarten classes. Last year, that figure had dipped to 2,594, according to DOE data.

Kindergarten enrollment also fell by 12 percent over that span in District 20, another of the city’s most competitive academic precincts.

Only one city district has seen an increase in students over the last half decade. District 31 in Staten Island saw its numbers edge up slightly by 0.2 percent since 2017.

The DOE highlighted that its enrollment declines mirror those in other large metropolitan areas and are attributable in part to larger demographic trends.

The agency’s District 75, which serves severely physically and mentally challenged city kids, has seen its rolls grow in recent years.

In 2017 there were 24,604 students enrolled in the program. There were 26,524 last year, a hike of 7.8 percent.

Charter school enrollment increased by 31 percent since 2017, going from 105,065 to 138,648 last year.

The Bronx had the highest overall enrollment losses over that period at 6 percent, followed by Queens at 5, Brooklyn at 4 and Manhattan at 2.5.

Staten Island’s overall enrollment grew by 2 percent.

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