Total Number of New Seats in the Proposed Plan Would Jump to Nearly 40,000 over Five Years
Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced revisions to the proposed Capital Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2019 to reflect the Mayor’s goal of creating additional full-day, high-quality pre-Kindergarten seats, ensuring a strong educational foundation for four-year-olds. The revisions, which also include the creation of additional seats to reduce class size, would increase the overall funding for the proposed plan to $12.8 billion from $12.0 billion. Some revisions are dependent on proceeds from the New York State Smart Schools Bond Act.
“These revisions will help us create high-quality, full-day pre-Kindergarten seats citywide that will deliver strong instruction. The changes also will add seats to reduce class size among all grade levels – a longstanding and high-priority issue for communities throughout the city,” said Schools Chancellor Fariña. “These are important steps that will dramatically improve educational outcomes for our students.”
Currently, fewer than 27 percent of 4-year-olds have access to full-day pre-Kindergarten in New York City. The Mayor and the DOE have laid out a plan to increase the number of full-day pre-Kindergarten seats to close to 54,000 by this September, from the current number of full-day seats of 19,483. By January 2016, the City plans to increase full-day seats to more than 73,000.
The revisions to the proposed Capital Plan rely on various funding sources. Additional sources in this plan include funds from the New York State Smart Schools Bond Act of $800 million as well as re-programming of $210 million in funds from charter and partnership programs. Of this amount, $490 million would be available for technology enhancements. An additional $310 million would cover restructuring to provide full-day pre-Kindergarten seats. The re-allocation is contingent on the bond proceeds from the New York State Smart Schools Bond Act. With these funding sources for the Capital Plan, the DOE and the School Construction Authority would create 4,900 new seats to reduce class size as well as 2,100 new full-day pre-Kindergarten seats.
“In this era of constrained finances, needs must be prioritized to ensure that we are leveraging all possible funding sources,” said Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm. “Bond proceeds and re-programming in the proposed Capital Plan will meet the needs for enhanced education technology, reduction in class size and enable long-term investments in full-day pre-Kindergarten through the construction of new pre-Kindergarten classroom space.”
“With funding from the City and State for this proposed Plan, we will be creating more than 32,560 seats in areas of current overcrowding and projected enrollment growth and we will be continuing our investment in existing facilities,” said SCA President Lorraine Grillo.
The overall plan calls for roughly $4.4 billion for capacity projects, such as new seats; $4.9 billion for capital investment which includes capital improvement projects and upgrades to technology, bathrooms, physical fitness space and science labs; and $3.5 billion for programs such as replacement of light fixtures containing PCBs, building code compliance projects and insurance.
The proposed Capital Plan is scheduled to be sent to the Panel for Educational Policy for approval at its meeting on March 18, then it will be submitted to the Mayor and City Council for adoption in June as part of the City’s budget. The Capital Plan for FY 2015-2019 is the third of its kind since 2005. The Capital Plan is reviewed each year and adjusted to address needs to maintain a safe and comfortable learning environment for students, staff, teachers and administrators in New York City’s public schools.