School Construction Authority to Disclose Methods for Deciding Where New Schools are Built Thanks to Legislation Introduced by Council Member Kallos
New Legislation Fixes the Faulty Methodology, Assumptions, and Data that Led to Overcrowding In Most New York City Schools
New York, NY – Today, the City Council will require the SCA to disclose the methodology and formulas they use to decide where and when new schools are built. A majority of New York City public elementary and middle school students attend overcrowded schools, yet the City plans to build fewer school seats than in the past, ignoring current overcrowding and future need.i] The new measure Introduction 729 is authored by Council Member Kallos as part of a package of bills aimed at making the Department and Education and the School Construction Authority more transparent and accountable to the public.
In February of 2017, in response to parents, educators, and students across the City, the Council announced a working group to study ways to improve education in New York City. After a year, the working group returned with a report titled “Planning to Learn: The School Building Challenge,” which highlights the importance of Local Law 72, also authored by Council Member Kallos-and recommends the passage of Introduction 729, which requires all methodologies and underlying data used to determine school need to be shared with the public.
Since 2015, Council Member Ben Kallos has been advocating at hearing after hearing for the building of school seats, focusing heavily on how the School Construction Authority (SCA) anticipates need.
Local Law 72 of 2018 requires granular reporting on the number of children who apply, are accepted or turned away, and ultimately attend schools across the City in order to gain insight into actual versus projected enrollment need. Together, the two pieces of legislation will help determine where there is the greatest need for more schools and where the SCA’s methods may have led to overcrowding.
“We need more school seats,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “With elementary schools at 106% capacity citywide, I have concerns about how the City is determining how many school seats we need. I’m grateful SCA has partnered with the Council and myself to provide us and the public with needed information so we can work together to solve this problem and end overcrowding in our schools.”