NEW YORK— The Department of Education and the School Construction Authority today highlighted the budget priorities for the Fiscal Year 2015-2019 Proposed Five-Year Capital Plan, which will create tens of thousands of new seats, reduce overcrowding, and remove transportable classroom units (TCUs) from schools.
Highlights include $4.4 billion that will be used to add over 39,500 seats over the next four years, including 33,000 in the City’s most overcrowded districts; $4.9 billion in capital investment, which will be used to upgrade fire alarms and public address systems, make structural repairs, and remove TCUs - including $504 million which will be set aside to upgrade technology in schools; and $100 million dollars will be designated to upgrade bathrooms and middle school science labs.
The proposed five-year capital plan is $12.8 billion. Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm and President of the School Construction Authority Lorraine Grillo jointly announced these priorities during their testimony before the City Council’s Finance and Education Committees hearing on the Capital Plan.
“The proposed $12.8 billion FY2015-2019 Capital Plan will create tens of thousands of new seats in areas projected for enrollment growth, directly addressing overcrowding and this Administration’s goal of creating additional high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten seats. The proposed Plan also targets the reduction of class size and much-needed improvements for our aging infrastructure,” said Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm.
Reducing Overcrowding and the Use of TCUs
The proposed Capital Plan calls for $4.4 billion to be spent on increasing capacity. The DOE will create approximately 39,500 new seats to reduce overcrowding and class size, and open new full-day pre-k seats in public schools. The majority of the funding ($3.3 billion) will be used to open around 33,000 new seats in areas that have experienced significant overcrowding. The plan also calls for $490 million to help reduce class size in neighborhoods throughout the City.
Investing in Upgrading our Schools
Along with building new schools, the proposed Capital Plan calls for renewed investment in our current schools. All totaled, $4.9 billion would be invested to improve existing facilities across the City, of which $3.3 billion would be spent to address necessary repairs, upgrade fire alarms and public address systems, and remove TCUs from schools. The remaining $1.6 billion would be spent to upgrade and improve instructional spaces in schools. With these funds, the Department will upgrade physical fitness rooms, renovate libraries, and improve auditoriums and computer labs. $100 million dollars will be specifically targeted to upgrading middle school science labs and the quality of school bathrooms.
Improving Access to Technology
To ensure students are ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow, they must be immersed in technology, which is why the Proposed Capital Plan invests $505 million to improve technology in our schools. With the money, the Department will work to upgrade its core technology infrastructure, bringing next-generation broadband and wireless technologies to all school buildings. An additional $145 million will be invested in upgrading the City’s older systems, including its student information systems, developing new data tools, and upgrading operational systems to improve schools. This commitment to technology will help transform our schools and enable our students to thrive.