Thursday, September 6, 2018

Welcome to a new school year, and please take our 5-minute survey!

Welcome back to a new school year! The good news in NYC is that we finally have a Chancellor, Richard Carranza, who is progressive and believes in the importance of class size.
The bad news is that neither he nor the mayor have put in place any specific programs or incentives to encourage smaller classes – even in struggling schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students.
Outside NYC, school budgets in many states are still lower than they were in 2008 before the recession hit. In NYC, though our budget has grown, class sizes are still significantly larger than in 2008.
While the overall DOE budget increased this year by nearly $1 billion, not a single dime will be spent specifically to lower class size, and $200 million more will go to charter schools as their enrollment continues to grow. Nearly $31 million more will be spent on central administration, with more than $1.7 million to pay for the salaries of nine new Executive Superintendents.
Please let us know what the class sizes are this year in your child’s schools, by filling out our five-minute survey here. If you don’t know, ask your child’s teacher -- or ask your middle school or high school child to count heads. The UFT class size limits are posted here. (Subscribers outside NYC are also welcome to take the survey.)
Since projected student enrollment has declined slightly and the City Council successfully pushed for an extra $125 million so that all schools will receive at least 90% of their Fair Student Funding, we hope that this may help lead to slight decreases in average class size this year.
The DOE also announced that 21 new schools were opening this year, but 15 are charter schools. Only one new public elementary school opened in Queens – the most overcrowded borough – and in every borough there are neighborhoods still is suffering from school overcrowding.
This fall the DOE will propose a new five-year capital plan, and we are going to try to keep the Mayor at his word to fully fund this plan and provide all the new school seats that are needed to alleviate overcrowding and accommodate enrollment growth.
We are also going to push for dedicated funding for class size reduction. Let me know if you’re interested in helping with our campaign by replying to this message and/or by filling out our survey.

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