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The Planning to Learn Report is a detailed analysis of the space challenges faced by New York City’s public school system and a comprehensive set of recommendations to address the ongoing and severe overcrowding that exists in New York City’s public schools.

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.

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, 12,821 seats are not yet sited.