22 THE QUEENS COURIER • SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Queens still needs more public school seats: report
BY ANGELA MATUA
firstname.lastname@example.org / @AngelaMatua
A new report by the nonprofi t Class
Size Matters found that more than 50,000
school seats were lost from 2004 through
2013 and that the city must do more if
they want to alleviate overcrowding.
Th e report, titled “Seats Gained and
Lost in NYC Schools: Th e Untold Story,”
compared statements that then Mayor
Bloomberg made about having added
100,000 school seats to data found in
Department of Education (DOE) School
Capacity and Utilization Reports known
as Blue Books.
Researchers found that Bloomberg did
not consider the number of seats lost
during that period due to lost leases,
co-locations, or the closure of annexes,
mini buildings and Temporary Classroom
Units (TCU) or trailers.
When these loses are factored, only
45,014 seats were gained between 2004
and 2013. Elementary schools at or above
100 percent capacity increased by 17 percent
and the number of students enrolled
in these buildings increased by 29 percent.
Th e report also found that most of
the school seats went to charter schools
instead of public schools, which saw an
increase of 2,357 through the decade.
Th e most overcrowded school district
— District 24 — is located in Queens.
Th ough elected offi cials have made eff orts
to remove classroom trailers, most of
which were supposed to be temporary
but were utilized for years, enrollment
is expected to increase in this district the
next fi ve years.
According to city data, the district’s elementary
schools had an average utilization
rate of 125 percent in the 2015-2016
school year. Th e city estimates that the
district will need 9,400 additional seats to
meet demand and only about half of those
seats are funded in the February 2017
capital plan. Th e DOE’s TCU plan would
remove about 623 additional seats.
Funding additional seats is also an
issue, the nonprofi t report highlighted.
Th e 2017 capital plan allocates $142 million
to restore lost space through the
Facility Replacement Program. But this is
a sharp decline from the $1.3 billion the
program received in 2009.
Councilman Danny Dromm, who represents
parts of District 24 and is the education
committee chairperson, said the
city must be honest about how many seats
are required to alleviate overcrowding.
“To combat overcrowding in our public
schools, the NYC Department of
Education must fi rst be open and honest
about seat loss,” Dromm said. “Charter
school co-locations have taken a tremendous
toll on public education in our city,
leading to fewer classroom seats in already
overcrowded schools. While I have successfully
fought to create new seats during
my tenure in the NYC Council, much
more work needs to be done. I urge the
administration to take the necessary steps
to reduce class size in NYC. Our children
deserve no less.”
A report by the nonprofi t Class Size Matters found that public schools have lost thousands of seats
from 2004 through 2013.
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