<< Back

Budget, Education & City Services

Review of school siting and school capacity

WHEREAS, In March 2012 the Community Education Council District 2 (CECD2) passed a resolution (Resolution #56) calling for a requirement for residential developments to contribute to the construction of more school seats by creating a school construction fund;

WHEREAS, Overcrowding has been an issue for Manhattan School District 2, the district that serves CB5 children, for more than a decade; and

WHEREAS, As early as 2008, CB5 has called for better planning and school siting to alleviate school overcrowding (resolution School Capacity issues in Community Board Five February 2008); and

WHEREAS, Nearly ten years later many schools in the city remain overcrowded, including those serving CB5 school-age population, while new residential units continue to be built at a fast pace in our district; and

WHEREAS, The November 2016 Amendments to the 2015 – 2019 Five Year Capital Plan estimates District 2 elementary and middle school capacity needs to be 3,232 seats with 3,150 seats funded in the plan; and

WHEREAS, Housing data provided by Department of City Planning and used to project enrollment projects more than 7,500 additional K-8 students in School District 2 by 2024; and

WHEREAS, The enrollment projections for the capital plan are flawed, utilizing a CEQR formula that is not appropriate at a neighborhood scale and does not take into consideration sizes of residential units (e.g., studio vs. 3 bedroom) and, as a result, projections have been shown to be significantly lower than the actual school-age population growth in some neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, The CEQR manual does not assess nor mitigate for the cumulative impact of development, which means that developers are rarely required to create additional school capacity because their developments almost always falls under the impact threshold, while schools become severely overcrowded because of the influx of multiple developments; and

WHEREAS, New school construction continues to be a process that often stretches over five to six years – an entirety of a child's elementary school education; and

WHEREAS, Inadequate planning has caused undue hardships not only on families but also on schools by creating large fluctuations in enrollment; and

WHEREAS, The Department of Education, recognizing its own failure to properly assess school enrollment, has launched a challenge asking for groups to propose better ways to assess school enrollment, offering a $5,000 grant to five selected projects and a $15,000 grant to the winner in an effort to resolve such a deep and critical problem; and

WHEREAS, The City Council Speaker expressed the desire to solve overcrowding during her State of the City Address on February 16, 2017, with the creation of a working group tasked with the mission to solve overcrowding and improve enrollment predictions; and

WHEREAS, The City has an obligation to the citizens of NYC to have sufficient school seats for its children, and to match school capacity to our growing population; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends the Department of Education and the SCA better assess school enrollment and population growth in our school district; and be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 urges the City Council to update the CEQR manual formula to better reflect school enrollment and to provide mitigating measures for the cumulative impact of development, for example in the form of a school fund that developers would contribute to; and be it further

RESOLVED, CB5 believes that the City Council Speaker's initiative to create a working group, while a step in the right direction, needs to include formal community input, whether from the CEC or the community boards or both.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter