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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crowded out: report on city's failure to plan for new schools

Read Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s important new report on school overcrowding, “Crowded Out.

Here in NYC we are in the midst of an unprecedented development boom. In four Manhattan neighborhoods alone, the city has approved enough new buildings to add up to 2,300 new public school students in grades K-8, while increasing total school capacity by only 143 seats.

Every day, we fall further behind. Kindergarten classes are already 28 students in some schools, high rises continue to spring up around us, and rate of new residential construction is not likely to let up anytime soon.

As more and more schools become overcrowded, there are few prospects for alleviating these conditions, no less reducing class size. In all, this administration’s record on school construction and planning for the future has been an abject failure.

The recommendations of this report? The city needs to improve its planning to make sure that enough schools are built along with new housing, and adopt a transparent process for projecting population growth; they must plan for new schools at the neighborhood level where the overcrowding is most intense, rather than at the school district level; and the next capital plan must be far more aggressive if there are going to be enough schools to eliminate overcrowding and reduce class size.

See also this letter from elected officials, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney, to Joel Klein about the administration's failure to site and build enough schools.

Check out the media coverage of this report on NY1, WCBS, and the NY Daily News.

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