Will private school students go public?

I raised this issue last fall, when Wall Street first collapsed. At the time, the private schools were still reporting strong enrollments and many thought it unlikely that kids would leave, say, Brunswick for the mob scene at the GHS student center. Well, Wall Street has hardly improved and now the town is paying attention to the possibility of private school students washing up on the shores of our public schools. At $35,000 tuition, per student, per year, it’s within the realm of possibility that families won’t be able to afford three children in private school. I don’t know my readers’ experience but I’m learning almost every day of another friend who’s lost his job, and even friends who are in other fields than financial – IT, for instance – report that “it’s scary out there.” Things look bleak, at least right now.

While I’m sorry for any family that suffers financial reverses, sending the kids to Greenwich schools will not be the end of them. The schools have always been pretty good, and an influx of smart, ambitious kids, paired with parents who care about those kids’ education, can only improve them. Bring ’em on, and sorry about your Caribbean vacation. Maybe next year.


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8 responses to “Will private school students go public?

  1. Red

    Greenwich Public Schools are hardly the worst fate a child could suffer, though an acquaintance actually refused to consider Parkway School because — and I am not making this up — her child “might have to sit in class next to the child of somebody’s maid or chauffeur.”

    But beyond the private school enrollment issues, I also wonder how this downturn will effect the Stanwich School construction, as well as the rebuilding of the GCDS campus. Do the schools have the cash in hand, or are they counting on pledged amounts which might/might not actually materialize?

  2. christopherfountain

    Red, I wondered the same thing just yesterday as I drove by the proposed campus. I hope they have cash on hand because the parents I know who send their kids there all seem to think very, very highly of it. But I suppose the neighbors who opposed it would be happy to see it fail, if they didn’t have their own money invested in the Street.

  3. InfoDiva

    The article indicated that only 75% of the children living in Greenwich use its public schools.

    I suspect that number is far lower in, for example, the North Street and Parkway school districts. When my kids were at North Street School in the 1980s, the principal told me that only 50% of the eligible kids in the North Street district were actually enrolled there.

    The overall numbers may be manageable for the school system, but some of the individual school districts may be in for quite a jolt in September.

  4. Peg

    an acquaintance actually refused to consider Parkway School because — and I am not making this up — her child “might have to sit in class next to the child of somebody’s maid or chauffeur.”

    Hmmmm. Maybe there should be warning labels on the comments? I almost had to vomit when I read this.

    Pity the poor child who is raised by someone with this mentality.

  5. anonymous

    Anecdotally, in BeverlyHills, which has OK public schools (like Greenwich), a few middle-school kids have been severely beaten by classmates (economic diversity is so desirable) for cash/iPhone, etc….can never be too early to develop proper mugging skills, right?….many BH parents pay up for pvt schools simply for physical safety of kids, not necessarily academic quality

    Besides, many un/underemployed financial guys may want to cough up pvt school money to have chance to mingle w/fellow parents who may be poss future employers (or clients): HF founders and senior execs who have their rugrats in pvt schools, not public schools….

    • christopherfountain

      There are no beatings in Greenwich High that I’m aware of – occasional fights, between kids who know each other, but it’s no battle zone. I say that as someone who attended it in 1968-71 and the parent of 3 kids who all survived the horror of mingling with non-Riverside residents. My last child graduated just 3 years ago – I doubt we’ve seen a deterioration in conditions since.

  6. anonymous

    Parents of Brunswick students received an e-mail from the headmaster over the weekend, reassuring us that the endowment is only down 18% (compared with 25% at many other private schools), the annual fund is receiving donations similar to past years, re-enrollment has not declined and admissions is busier than ever. Tom Philip is a very honest and upright guy so I have no reason to not believe him.

    Even when faced with financial downturns or lost jobs, I am guessing that most parents with children in private schools will do just about anything to keep them there and do without in other areas.

  7. christopherfountain

    That’s bad news for our public schools (well, not really, but I’ll be sorry not to see an influx of bright kids) and good news for Brunswick. i wonder if the public school administrators are in touch with their counterparts down the street? Would seem t make sense before spending a lot of time on contingency plans.