Dept. of Ed Says Small Classes Cost Big Money

The city's Department of Education says it can't afford to reduce class sizes as much as many parents would like. At a State Assembly Education Committee hearing today, Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf laid out what it would cost to reduce average class sizes by 10 percent.

CERF: The operating budget cost of that would be about $800 million and the capital budget associated with that is measured in the tens of billions of dollars.

Cerf says the city DID use state funds dedicated to reducing class sizes, but that most grades experienced a recent increase because of mid year cuts in 2008 that forced principals to cut back hundreds of teachers.

Queens Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan told Cerf classes are still too large in middle schools and high schools.

Today's hearing was the fourth in a series about mayoral control of the public schools. The state law that put Bloomberg in charge of the system expires in June.