The DOE released its updated capital plan at the end of January. They have now identified an overall need of approximately 83,000 seats citywide – closer to our estimate of more than 100,000 seats and far more than their previous estimate of 49,000 in May.
They also plan to build an additional 44,348 K12 seats compared to 32,629 previously, at an additional cost of nearly $1 billion. All of this is good news.
However, the DOE is planning to fund only about 59% of their own estimate for necessary seats, compared to 66% previously. The number of school seats with sites identified and in in the process of design are only 15% of their estimate of need, compared to 22.7% previously. (Click on charts to enlarge.)
The need for seats will grow even larger as will school overcrowding if the City Council approves the Mayor’s new rezoning proposals to allow for thousands of new housing units to be built throughout the city.
We are urging the city to fund 83,000 seats – which would cost an additional $130 million according to the IBO. But even if these seats were fully funded, the DOE doesn’t appear to have the capacity to site and build schools efficiently enough. There are overcrowded communities for which funding has existed in the capital plan for over a decade without a single school being sited or built in their neighborhoods.
That’s why we also need a Commission or Task Force to improve the whole process of school siting and planning – to make sure that schools are built along with housing and not decades afterward.
Please send an email to the Mayor and the City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, urging them to expand the plan and create a Commission to speed the accuracy and efficiency of school planning and siting.More details concerning the changes in the capital plan are here; we also have charts showing how many seats are being funded in each school district compared to the actual need-- and how few seats are actually sited and in process of being actually designed.
I was recently quoted in a Gotham Gazette where I said the crisis of school overcrowding is unacceptable in the richest city in the richest country in the world. Here are some recent newsclips about school overcrowding in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens. Don’t you think it’s time to do something about this? Please send an email now!
If you would like to see the overcrowding data for your district, and how many seats are planned for your district compared to the need, please let us know. We are speaking on the capital plan at CEC 30 on Feb. 22 and CEC 6 on Feb. 29. We can also come speak to your Community Education Council or Community Board on this issue. We also have a sample resolution for your CEC to consider.