On Friday, DOE posted what is purported to be their draft five- year class size reduction plan, in accordance with the new state law. As I was quoted in the Daily News, “It’s a big nothing burger. There is no plan. They’re hoping just to coast on enrollment decline until it’s too late to do anything real.”
There is nothing in the plan about providing more space or staffing to lower class size, or capping enrollment at very overcrowded schools. There is nothing about creating space by using more creative strategies, e.g. by possibly moving more PreK seats out of elementary schools to CBOs which have thousands of empty seats. There is nothing at all about how the benchmarks will be achieved in the out years, especially given how DOE intends to continue cutting school budgets and has proposed to slash the capital plan by $2.3 billion and 22,000 seats. In fact, there is not a single mention in the proposed Feb. amendment to the capital plan, released six months after the Governor signed the class size bill into law, that even mentions the mandate to lower class size.
Class Size Matters is looking for volunteers to
testify at the borough and Community Education Council hearings, scheduled for the month of
June. The final adopted class size plan is supposed to be revised based on public
input at these hearings, and then submitted to the state in compliance with the new state
class size law. An FAQ on the law and what it requires is here. The DOE's draft "plan" is posted here.