The DOE’s nothing-burger class size plan; please sign up now to speak at public hearings!

May 22, 2023

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, nor capping enrollment at very overcrowded schools. There is nothing about creating space by using more creative strategies, for example by moving some PreK seats out of elementary schools to CBOs, which have thousands of empty seats. There is nothing about how the DOE can achieve the benchmarks in the law in the out-years, especially given how they intend to to slash the capital plan by $2.3 billion and 22,000 seats. In fact, there is not a single mention in the capital plan that mentions the requirements in the new class size law, though the latest version was released six months after the Governor signed the class size bill into law.

Today, the Chancellor promised there would be no cuts to schools’ initial budgets next year; though mid-year adjustments may be made, i.e. schools could be forced to give back funding. Yet the Council analysis also shows that the budget calls for the loss of another 800 plus teaching positions, many of them unfilled because of past budget cuts. This may lead to further class size increases, especially as enrollment decline next year is projected to be less than one percent.

Class Size Matters is looking for volunteers to testify at the borough and Community Education Council hearings on this non-plan “plan,” 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 class size law. An FAQ on the law and what it requires is here. The DOE’s draft “plan” is posted here.

We will provide talking points to volunteers along with district- and/or borough-specific data that they are free to draw upon for their comments. Hearings will be online via ZOOM at 6:00pm EST, with registration starting at 5 pm. Please enter your information here if you are willing to volunteer to speak at one or more hearings.

2. Please also sign up for our Annual Parent Action Conference on Saturday, June 10 at Seward Park Campus, 5th fl. at 350 Grand St., co-sponsored with NYC Kids PAC. We will be holding a workshop on the what the city should be doing to lower class size, as well as lots of other sessions and panels on hot-button education issues; we will also provide breakfast and a delicious lunch. More info and RSVP here.

thanks Leonie



Categories Newsletters, Uncategorized, Updates | Tags: | Posted on May 22, 2023

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