Letter from Christine Quinn and Robert Jackson

November 19, 2009

Dear New Yorker, 

The City Council, together with parents and other elected officials, has been calling on the Department of Education (DOE) to increase the number of seats in the City’s public school system in order to help relieve overcrowding and address the future needs of our growing communities.  We’re pleased to report that the proposed amendment to the Five-Year Capital Plan released last week increases the number of new classroom seats by a total of 5,123. 

Many of these seats will be located in School Districts 15, 24, 29 and 30, which are among those that have been particularly hard hit by overcrowding in recent years.  The seats will not require any new funding but instead will be paid for by re-estimating construction costs and through the reallocation of existing resources.  To view the proposed amendment in its entirety, click here.

The details of this proposal need to be carefully examined, including concerns that the funding used for these seats could delay the construction of other seats elsewhere in the system.  However, we believe that this amendment is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to working with parents and advocates to expand the number of classroom seats even further.

As a concerned New Yorker, you have a vital role to play in this process.  The proposed amendment has been sent to every district’s Community Education Council (CEC) for public comment and review, which will occur primarily at December meetings.  After evaluating all public feedback, the DOE is expected to release a final amendment in February, which will then go to the Panel for Education Policy and the City Council for review and approval in the spring.

We encourage you to attend your local CEC’s public meetings and to share your thoughts and views about this proposal.  To find your CEC’s event calendar, click here.

The Council’s Education Committee will also be holding a hearing on the draft amendment in the near future.  Information about the hearing will be posted on our website at http://www.council.nyc.gov/html/home/home.shtml as soon as it has been scheduled.

Thank you.

Sincerely, 

Christine C. Quinn

Speaker

New York City Council

Robert Jackson

Chair, Education Committee

New York City Council

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