Walcott announces amendment to capital plan

April 12, 2011 3:23:30 PM PDT
Chancellor-Designee Dennis Walcott has announced an amendment to the Department of Education's five-year-plan to restore construction and funding for the plan.

That new proposal should translate into space for 11,979 seats to ease overcrowding in the 1.1 million-student school system over the next five years.

"For months now, we have faced the prospect of big cuts in aid from Albany that would have meant fewer new school seats and more overcrowding," said Chancellor-Designee Dennis Walcott. "Today, I'm pleased to announce that the Legislature has come through for New York City, putting us back on track to add over 28,000 seats in neighborhoods with the most need. We're also investing in critical technology and infrastructure for our schools and moving forward with a plan to improve energy use and environmental quality of our buildings. I'd like to thank the Legislature, and particularly Assembly Education Chair Cathy Nolan and Senate Education Chair John Flanagan, for their leadership in protecting State support for school construction."

The new April amendment to the capital plan restores funding by $1.75 billion, bringing the total to $11.1 billion over five years.

The new amendment also brings capital investment to $6.5 billion in order to fund critical upgrades to school infrastructure, including an additional $141 million for the City's comprehensive plan to increase energy efficiency and environmental quality in public schools.

The School Construction Authority manages new school construction and renovation of the City's existing school buildings for the Department of Education. Over the last seven years, the City has improved construction efficiency and implemented a comprehensive capital planning process that ensures school construction keeps pace with student demand. Through these efforts, more than 100,000 school seats have been constructed since 2003, including 24,995 in the Bronx, 24,463 in Brooklyn, 12,987 in Manhattan, 32,524 in Queens, and 5,619 in Staten Island.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose Walcott to succeed Cathie Black, who resigned last week after a rocky three months as schools chancellor.

Walcott said he plans to work more closely with parents.