Big cuts in new seats, despite overcrowding crisis, with DOE spinning as a “restoration”

See this DOE press release on their “new” revised amended five year capital plan, which they try to spin as a major restoration, but is really a major cut.


  • In the Feb. 2010 plan (which was adopted in June), the DOE said they would fund 30,000 new seats at $4 billion, which we  knew was insufficient, based upon existing overcrowding and  rapidly increased enrollment.
  • Then, in their proposed Nov. 2010 amendment, they admitted the need for at least 50,000 new seats, costing $7.4 billion (including 2300 seats for design only); because of growing enrollment.  (Strangely enough, this document was recently removed from the School Construction Authority website.)

  • In their Feb. 2011 plan, they threatened to cut way back because the governor submitted a proposal to cap state reimbursement for school construction.  They said they  would build only 20,000 new seats  (with 6,000 of these funded for design only), unless the proposal was changed, and to allocate only $1.7 billion for new capacity.

  • But now that the governor’s proposal was rejected by the Legislature, they are still cutting way back on new capacity, and propose to create only 28,866 new school seats, plus 2,314 seats in design, for a total of 31,000.

Did the city’s financial picture significantly change since November? No.

Did the state change its reimbursement policies?  No.

Did enrollment suddenly decline? No. In fact, one quarter of all elementary schools now have waiting lists for Kindergarten next year.

The full proposed capital plan is here. It also contains $957 million to implement “transformational technology programs” for online testing and learning, with $540 million to be spent in FY 2012 alone.  Maybe their ultimate plan is that students don’t have to have a seat in a real school, as they will be able to stay home and receive “virtual learning” instead.

Categories Reports & Memos | Tags: | Posted on April 18, 2011

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