- Last Updated: 12:47 AM, May 24, 2012
- Posted: 12:47 AM, May 24, 2012
It was like a Bronx stampede.
Two South Bronx charter schools in the Success Academy network attracted a stunning 5,900 applications last month from families seeking to avoid the local public schools — even though there were only 190 open charter slots available.
The unprecedented demand of more than 30 applicants per seat — more than six times the average among charter schools citywide — left close to 5,700 families anxiously stuck on wait lists at Success Academy Bronx 1 or 2.
It also left a host of parents going to great lengths to keep their kids out of the local traditional public schools.
“I drive my kids an hour to school every day just to stay away from the schools here. They neglect our kids. They don’t help them grow. So I’m trying to give them an alternative,” said Agnes Diaz, a 28-year-old customer service rep who lives in Mott Haven but enrolls her kids at PS 188 in the East Village.
Her son, Evan, 5, and daughter, Illumirosa, 8, are both wait-listed at Success Academy Bronx 1.
“Honestly the entire public school system needs to be revamped . . . but until then I will keep applying to charters, because it feels like they gave us that ultimatum: Apply or die,” said Diaz.
Diaz was not alone among shut-out parents who said their eagerness to give their kids an educational leg up was driving them to desperation.
Zakiya Mitchell said she commutes by subway an hour each way every day — from the South Bronx to Williamsburg — to keep her 6-year-old daughter in a decent public school, PS 147.
She moved to The Bronx last summer but is hoping a charter school will give her a better local option.
Additional reporting by Justin Snow