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Friday, October 31, 2014

Mayor's School Space Sharing Study and What it Leaves Out

See today's Daily News which reports on a leaked copy of  NYC's School Space Working Group
study, posted below.   This afternoon, Schoolbook/WNYC also reported on the recommendations. This working group was run out of the Mayor's office and was designed to come up with recommendations to ease tensions at existing co-located schools, but also to provide guidelines so that future co-locations do not harm students.

As I was quoted saying,  the goal of consulting more with the community is commendable, but there should be a complete moratorium on all school co-locations, charter and otherwise,  until the city revises its space formula to ensure that all schools have the room to provide students with a quality education, including smaller classes.

I was happy to see that the document recognizes the findings in our overcrowding report called Space Crunch that DOE has undercounted by thousands the number of students who attend classes in trailers in their reported figures (see p. 9 of the report below, pp 18-19 in Space Crunch.)

However, the study fails to mention how in the effort to co-locate more schools, DOE has pushed more and more students into smaller and smaller rooms -- with the minimum room size shrinking to only 500 square feet from 600 square feet -- in many cases risking students' safety, undermining their learning conditions and even potentially violating the building code. (see p. 21 of Space Crunch.).

It also omits the fact that many public schools have lost their art, music and science rooms, as well as libraries because of forced co-locations.  Truly, co-locations have eaten up valuable classroom space in the process of replicating administrative and specialty spaces, contributing to worsening overcrowding throughout our system.

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