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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Egregious renovation spending on preK classrooms including $6.5 million for 18 kids

Photo: Gabriella Bass for the NY Post
Selim Algar of the NY Post revealed that DOE spent $6.5 million to renovate a space for a preK sitefor 18 students -- at a cost of $362,222 per student.  This site is located in District 20 at 8501 5th avenue in Bay Ridge, on the ground floor of a parking garage and right next to a Dunkin' Donuts.
“I was incredulous,” said Community Education Council 20 president Laurie Windsor. “This is so much money. So much money on a site that only houses only one class.”

As I was quoted in the article,  "In the rush to expand pre-K, serious mistakes have been made — egregious renovation costs, worse overcrowding in many public schools, and contracts to vendors with insufficient vetting... The reality is that early childhood does not end at age four, and many experts say that the exclusive focus on pre-K while ignoring classroom conditions including class size in subsequent grades does not benefit kids."
Site before renovation into a PreK classroom
For more on how the city is ignoring the need to reduce class size in grades K-3 which will likely limit the gains from preK , see the letter signed by 73 professors of education and psychology, sent last year to the Chancellor more than a year ago that got no response; see also this oped.  

Though the Bay Ridge site was the most egregiously costly preK project reported in the DOE's capital plan, note the other two highlighted below in a chart created by City Council staff, including a preK site for 36 children at 2 Lafayette St. in Manhattan at a cost of $196,000 per seat, and  in Staten Island at 1625 Forest Avenue for 90 students at $202,333 per seat. 
Note that the DOE admits to only funding the creation of about 59% of the seats necessary for K-12 schools, and the actual percentage is probably far less. Note also that  the average cost for a K-12 school, including a gymnasium, cafeteria, and specialized classrooms ranges from $102,000 per seat in Brooklyn to $131,000 per seat in Manhattan.  13 of the preK projects listed below had seats costs substantially above this.

1 comment:

Jordana Ari said...

I was offered a position on the spot at the pre-k center on Kew Gardens Road. I was offered another position on the following day and took that one instead. My decision making to turning down the offer was due to a red flags which I found skeptical.