Friday, May 04, 2007

Bloomberg builds housing without schools

Selections of Leonie Haimson post on nyceducationnews listerve:

Even though the Mayor assembled a task force on sustainability to come up w/ suggestions for how to serve a population that is expected to grow by a million by 2030, to deal w/ the increased pressure on housing, energy, sewage, transportation, parks, playgrounds, and other municipal services, the task force was explicitly instructed to leave out schools from their considerations – even though most of our schools are already overcrowded and are likely to become even more so in the future.

See the report of plaNYC 2030 at

To add insult to injury, the only actual mention of schools that I have found in the 160 pg. plan, aside from opening up school playgrounds for after school and weekend hours, is to use school buildings for more housing!

The report uses as a model of what should occur more frequently in the future PS 109 in East Harlem, and how wonderful it is that the school is being converted to artist housing: “By working with HPD and the Department of Cultural Affairs to open new affordable spaces for artists, we can not only preserve our physical city but also its essential creative spirit. “ The authors go on to describe in detail the battle of community residents who fought with tooth and nail for the school building to be landmarked and preserved rather than torn down– without mentioning that what they really wanted was for it to be a school again!

This is the mentality we are fighting in this city. While all of our elected officials, including our Mayor, always proclaim education comes first, it really comes last – that is, if it ever enters their minds at all.

And this is why we must ask our elected officials to require that schools be incorporated in all large scale developments – and not just 500 seats, when the need is more than 1,000, as the Atlantic yards project. And why we need a better capital plan -- one that provides at least twice as many seats as the one currently proposed by DOE.

More on this soon; meanwhile see comments from Deborah Glick, Assemblymember from Lower Manhattan, and her letter to Chancellor Klein on this subject.


Leonie Haimson
Class Size Matters

124 Waverly Pl.

New York, NY 10011

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--- Deborah Glick <> wrote:

Dear Friend

As our city administration advances an unprecedented number of residential development projects, especially in Lower Manhattan, I have serious concerns about whether commensurate public amenities have been adequately planned for in order to accommodate such growth. Too often it seems that large scale development moves forward with little thought as to the necessary infrastructure that must be
provided for the subsequent influx of residents it attracts. This is particularly true when planning our city's school system. I believe that the City must undergo in-depth population projections for every neighborhood to ensure that class sizes are appropriate and to properly plan for new school construction.

Below is the text of a letter I wrote to Chancellor Klein on this important education issue.

Deborah J. Glick

April 20, 2007

Joel Klein, Chancellor
NYC Department of Education
52 Chambers St.
New York, NY 10007

Dear Chancellor Klein:

In recent years there has been an increasing push to attract residential development to New York City. However, while much of this development is aimed specifically at families with school-aged children, it often fails to take into account the provision of commensurate public amenities such as schools, in order to match these rapidly changing demographics. This has been particularly true in Lower Manhattan.

I am particularly concerned about the Department of Education's (DOE) seeming lack of in-depth demographic planning, which is crucial to adequately identifying the necessary educational resources for specific neighborhoods. It is my understanding that beyond general projected growth figures for Regional and Community School Districts, no current projections exist for the more narrowly defined geographic catchment areas, which often bear the brunt of development projects slated for particular neighborhoods. Such a study would help identify those communities facing a disproportionate amount of residential growth and thus inform their specific needs for locally zoned schools. If such an effort has not already commenced, I would encourage DOE, in conjunction with the Department of City Planning (DCP), to undertake such a study based on these catchment areas.

As New York City faces an unprecedented amount of residential growth across the boroughs, it is critical that DOE carefully plan for and provide the necessary infrastructure to accommodate this growth in specific Sincerely,
Deborah J. Glick

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