Overcrowding in Manhattan schools seems to be more acute than usual this year. But in the rest of the city, Manhattan’s overcrowding story isn’t news: For years, many schools in the outer boroughs haven’t been able to accommodate all of the children who live near them for years.
So writes Jeff Coplon in next week’s New York Magazine:
The DOE perennially “caps” the enrollments of dozens of schools in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn, busing hundreds of kindergartners out of places like Elmhurst or Norwood. In the northwest corner of the Bronx, the poorest urban county in the nation, District 10 leads the city in capped schools-seven by the count of the DOE, nine by that of Marvin Shelton, the president of the district’s Community Education Council. (The crush can only worsen this fall, given the closure of kindergartens at city-run day-care centers: more than 3,000 of the city’s least-advantaged 5-year-olds, thrown into the DOE’s Mixmaster.) The children are bused miles east to west in rush-hour traffic and arrive home so exhausted they take two-hour naps. More than a dozen other schools dodge formal caps by shunting students to annexes blocks away or hauling makeshift “mini-schools” or double-wides onto their properties.
Coplon’s report jives with data made available online last week by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which show that Manhattan is far from having the most crowded schools.