Detention Retention: City Failing to Provide Enough Classrooms for All Those Condos

schoolroofclintonstreet1906 Detention Retention: City Failing to Provide Enough Classrooms for All Those Condos

Think of the children!

There’s a lot of internal turmoil in New York City schools, ranging from budget cuts to Race to the Top to that perennial nightmare—will my kid get into the right private school? The issues are deep rooted, but are put into perspective when a greater root of the problems are unearthed: Where’s the space?

It is an issue already causing crunches across the city, following the recent building boom, and it is only getting worse. New schools in Manhattan will be lagging behind residential growth in the coming years, too, The Wall Street Journal notes:

Thousands of housing units coming to Midtown West and the Upper West Side by 2015 will strain several schools that are currently near or exceeding capacity, the report, prepared by Barbara Byrne Denham, chief economist with real-estate services firm Eastern Consolidated, said.

The New York City school district is the largest in the nation with over 1 million students and 75,000 teachers. City regulations note that officials should plan for “twelve additional elementary-school seats for and four middle-school seats for every 100 units of housing being built in Manhattan.”

The report estimated 2015 figures (emphasis ours):

Enrollment for the 2010-11 school year between 59th and 77th streets was 3,468 and capacity was 3,408. In 2015, enrollment is estimated to be 3,990 and capacity will be 3,896.

Enrollment for the 2010-11 school year for Midtown West was 1,652, and capacity was 1,785. In 2015, enrollment is projected to be 2,732 and capacity is projected to be 2,138.

They aren’t the first neighborhoods to hit the wall, however. Tribeca and Battery Park City have reached capacity as early as 2008. If budget cuts are slashing salaries and teaching positions, where’s the money for new schools? And even if those are being built: who is going to teach in them?

Private school might be an option for some, but even the most financially-able families have more to worry about than just the $35,000 a year price tag.

mewing@observer.com