Teachers sue DOE over class size

January 5, 2010 2:45:03 PM PST
The United Federation of Teachers and a group of high profile partners intend for their lawsuit against the city Department of Education to send a loud message. "New York City promised in writing that it would use specific funds to reduce class size. It then turned around and ignored its promise, saying that school principals who supposedly work for the DOE simply decided to spend the money on other things - among them, to replace funds lost to city budget cuts," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.

The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation are among the plaintiffs challenging what the DOE has done with 760.7 million dollars that the lawsuit says was earmarked for reducing class sizes.

The teachers union says that since school funding under the so-called Contract for Excellence began three years ago class sizes are much higher.

"Three-quarters or a billion dollars later, tens of thousands of New York City students are packed into classes that are higher than anywhere else in the state," Mulgrew said.

According to UFT figures one-third of city second graders, more than half of all fourth graders, and 85 per cent of eighth graders are in classes of 25 students or more.

The lawsuit was filed today at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, where schools like P.S. 85 are said to be seriously overcrowded.