The working group — consisting of Council staff from the Land Use, Legislative, and Finance Divisions — will document school planning and siting processes, identify challenges, and develop a set of recommendations to address new school capacity. The working group plans to consult with education advocates as well as experts in school planning, development, real-estate, and others.

School Planning & Siting

Overcrowding has well-documented negative impacts on educational opportunity and attainment, and has long been a problem in New York City schools. In Fiscal 2016 (school year 2015-2016), approximately 59 percent of City elementary schools, 22 percent of middle schools, and 36 percent of high schools exceeded capacity. New York City is also currently seeing increases in population and housing. This development has the potential to exacerbate the over-utilization of schools, particularly as it takes place in the areas of the City that already face the worst overcrowding.

Additional school seats are needed both to alleviate existing overcrowding and meet demand from increased enrollment. In the latest proposed amendment to the Department of Education’s Five-Year Capital Plan, the estimate of total need for new K-12 seats is 82,811. However, only 44,324 of those seats, or 54 percent, are funded.

The Fiscal 2018 Ten-Year Capital Strategy does include funding that is expected to cover the remaining estimated seats needed in the next DOE Five-Year Capital Plan, which will begin in Fiscal 2020. However, there is concern from many that this new construction will not keep up with demand and that seat need may be underestimated.

In addition, the School Construction Authority has faced challenges in finding sites for school seats even when there is funding. Of the 84 K-12 capacity projects funded in the February 2017 Proposed Amendment, 39 projects representing 20,314 seats are not yet sited.

Please submit your comments by June 15, 2017. 


Submit your comments

Please share your thoughts on the school planning and siting process in the form below (optionally with an attachment). This can include problems you see in the current projection of seat need, challenges in the siting process, or recommendations for improving the planning and siting process in general. We are also interested in hearing about your experience with school planning, siting, and/or overcrowding in your neighborhood.

Public Comment

Check this box if the working group can make your comments (including your name and affiliation) public (i.e. include excerpts in its report).

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