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City Scaling Back School Construction

Friday, November 07, 2008

City officials say they're scaling back on the construction of new school buildings.

The Department of Education released a new five year capital construction plan that calls for about 40 new schools with 25,000 classroom seats. That's far different from the previous five-year-plan in which the Bloomberg administration funded the construction of 76 new schools.

A DOE spokeswoman says because of the city's economic crisis, rising inflation, and a sharp increase in construction costs, the city cannot be more ambitious at this point. The report has angered education advocates who say the school system is facing serious overcrowding problems.

They contend officials are underestimating the number of projected enrollments in neighborhoods that are seeing a spike in demand, like parts of Queens and lower Manhattan. But the DOE official says they have aggressively targeted overcrowded neighborhoods where more classrooms are needed. For WNYC, I'm Elaine Rivera.

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