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school construction authority
March 18, 2014
Few tough questions on school construction at council hearing
The education department's $12.8 billion capital plan aims to add thousands of new classroom seats over the next five years, while creating new space for pre-kindergarten, driving down class sizes, removing outdoor classroom trailers, and even beautifying some bathrooms.
February 28, 2014
De Blasio reappoints School Construction Authority president
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s taste for change in the city’s schools apparently does not extend to the agency in charge of building new ones. De…
August 29, 2013
One possible reason why school construction takes so long
According to a ruling by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, a School Construction Authority official has been suspended for interfering in the authority’s work…
September 14, 2011
Auditing DOE's space planning data, comptroller finds glitches
The Department of Education's annual assessments of how much space is available in each school building are not always correct. That's according to an audit being released today by Comptroller John Liu, who is in the midst of scrutinizing DOE data in a series of reports. Liu, who is weighing a 2013 mayoral run, launched the audits this spring after holding town hall meetings in which New Yorkers suggested topics for investigation. Last week, he critiqued the DOE's handling of the Absent Teacher Reserve, and he has at least three other schools audits in the works. The newest audit examines the city's "Blue Book," which contains space estimates for each school building. The DOE and the School Construction Authority use the Blue Book to guide how many students can be placed in a school, and how many schools can fit into a building. Critics, including members of the City Council, say Blue Book numbers don't always reflect reality — for example, suggesting that an additional class could fit into an art room — and that decisions based on them can leave schools crunched for space. To evaluate the city's success at ensuring accurate Blue Book data, Liu's office analyzed entries for 23 schools and found that space assessments for 10 percent of all rooms were incorrect in a way that affected the school's overall capacity. "Proper space is essential for fostering a good learning environment, yet all too often the DOE is basing critical building decisions on its unreliable Blue Book, which bears too much resemblance to a house of cards," Liu said in a statement.
September 1, 2010
Largest-ever SCA project among 26 new school sites this year
A stitched-together panorama of the Mott Haven Educational Campus, which will house five schools this year and is the largest school building project completed by the School Construction Authority. The city's largest new school building since the founding of the School Construction Authority will open for classes next week, creating room for more than 2,000 students in the Bronx. The seats at the Mott Haven Educational Complex are among more than 17,000 new classroom seats that will become available when school starts next week, city officials announced today. Of the 26 new school sites opening this year, 15 are completely new school buildings. Three projects add annexes to existing buildings, and eight sites are opening in newly-leased space. Nearly 700 of the new seats will be set aside for students in the city's District 75 program for special education students. Not all of the new seats will be filled with students when schools open next week. I've asked the DOE for estimates about how many of the seats they expect will be filled this year, and will update when I hear back. A map showing where the new seats added this year are located is below the jump.
December 3, 2008
Could the DOE's conservative capital plan be selling the city short?
With billions of dollars in federal support for school construction projects on the horizon, New York City is shortsighted to undersell its need for new schools, teachers union president Randi Weingarten said at yesterday's City Council hearing about the city's proposed capital plan. President-elect Obama's top aide confirmed yesterday that school construction projects will be part of the new administration's stimulus package to create jobs and encourage spending by states, according to Alyson Klein of Education Week. Governors, who are staring at massive budget shortfalls, this week asked Obama for $130 billion to support infrastructure projects, including schools. What's so special about school construction? In contrast with some other infrastructure projects, states are always planning to build or enhance schools, so they can get to work on those projects in a relatively short amount of time. Plus, many believe that capital investments in schools can pay off in improved educational quality. But the city doesn't have a robust school building agenda right now. This is "absolutely the wrong way to go in this situation" because it could result in the city's schools being shut out of a federal stimulus package, Weingarten said yesterday. "If this [federal] money is out there, and we don't have a plan, we won't be in the queue," she said.
November 17, 2008
Chief school builder is a seasoned city planner and Park Slope mom
Sharon Greenberger When several families arrived at a Park Slope middle school for an evening basketball practice recently, they were surprised to find themselves locked out. The gym, they learned, had been closed without warning so that construction workers could make repairs. The basketball team couldn’t practice, kids were disappointed, and parents were frustrated. Most parents would chalk the experience up as just one of the many small injustices of family life in the city. But for Sharon Greenberger, a Park Slope resident and mother of two, it was a professional learning experience. Greenberger leads the city’s School Construction Authority, the agency that oversees the building of new buildings and the repairs work for the old ones. In recent years, that has become a daunting job. More and more children are being brought up in the city, leaving parents distraught that public school buildings might not have enough room to fit them. At the same time, the city’s aging stock of school buildings — most are at least 90 years old — has required extensive repairs. Greenberger is the woman charged with balancing demand for new schools against the need to maintain old ones, an acrobatic challenge that has only gotten harder as grim fiscal realities set in.
November 5, 2008
What to look for in the city's new school construction plan
Sandwiched between exciting election news and distressing budget news, the mayor and chancellor today will release their proposal for the city schools’ next…
October 29, 2008
Bloomberg created fewer school seats than Giuliani, report says
In the opening salvo of what's sure to be a pitched battle over the next capital plan, activists today released a report (pdf) concluding that the city added fewer school seats during the first six years of the Bloomberg administration than it did during the six years immediately before. They estimate that the system needs 167,000 extra seats and dramatically accelerated school construction in order to ease crowding and reduce class sizes. The capital plan is a budget outlining all public school construction plans for the next five years. The current plan covered five years and will end in 2009. The School Construction Authority is due to present a first draft of the next capital plan, covering the years 2010 to 2014, in just a few weeks. In the report, released by the Campaign for a Better Capital Plan and written primarily by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters, backers of the campaign call for "a transparent, thorough, and open system of planning" that reflects the system's real space needs.
October 24, 2008
A snag in city's effort to lease closed Catholic schools: sex ed
Here’s something interesting from this morning’s City Council hearing on school siting: Lorraine Grillo, chief of staff at the School Construction Authority, said the…
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