December 10, 2010
Reprint from www.uft.org, 12/7/10
Leaders of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, joined by UFT President Michael Mulgrew and elected officials, rallied in front of the Tweed courthouse on Dec. 7 to demand solutions to chronic school overcrowding.
The Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which led a 13-year fight for more resources for city schools, released a new report showing that the way that the city counts classroom space in school buildings is seriously flawed. Over the last several years, the Department of Education has added thousands of “available” classrooms to its official count of building capacity – in school buildings that have not expanded.
“What does one plus one equal?” Mulgrew asked the crowd of activists and reporters. “Every school kid knows. One plus one is not six or 12. Stop playing games.”
City Comptroller John Liu has already begun an audit of the DOE’s capacity counts. Other elected officials demanded more transparency in how the “Blue Book” — the city’s official tally of available space in school buildings — determines building use.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer told the rally that maybe it’s fortunate that the city’s next chancellor is a former publishing executive. “She can determine that the Blue Book is a work of fiction, not fact,” he quipped.
The advocates called on the DOE to cease turning art rooms, labs and libraries into classrooms and then shoehorning more students or another school into the building.