Following recent protests against crowded schools in districts 2 and 3, the City Council’s education and public siting committees are holding a joint hearing on school overcrowding tomorrow. The committees will also consider a resolution, introduced at the request of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, that asks the DOE and School Construction Authority to adopt planning strategies that address overcrowding.
Before the 10 a.m. council hearing, anti-overcrowding activists plan to crowd the City Hall steps in the first major activity of the recently formed Campaign for a Better Capital Plan. The campaign — which calls for lower class sizes, planning that anticipates new construction, and an end to school overcrowding — is an outgrowth of the Manhattan Borough President’s Task Force on Overcrowding.
A push for proactive school planning that will allow for class size reduction and the maintenance of art and science rooms has to happen on a citywide basis, according to Patrick Sullivan, Stringer’s Panel for Educational Policy appointee who is chairing the campaign along with education advocate Leonie Haimson. “We didn’t want to have different boroughs pitted against each other,” he said.
There is “absolutely” time to improve the planning process before Nov. 3, when SCA is due to release the new capital plan, Sullivan said. But more important than the timing, he said, is that DOE and SCA officials “understand that parents and elected representatives are going to hold them accountable for conditions in the school system.”
The rally begins on the steps of City Hall at 9 a.m.