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NYC can save billions in school construction costs: report


(AlexBrylov/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

New York City can save billions of dollars on planned new school construction by reshuffling students among existing buildings, a new report argues.

The report titled Cut Costs, Not Ribbons, released on Wednesday by the Citizens Budget Commission, contends that the city can cut $2 billion in proposed construction costs to alleviate overcrowding by adjusting school enrollment policies.

“The City has not been able to build itself out of the school crowding problem,” said Andrew Rein, president of the Commission.

Almost half of city schools are overcrowded, according to the report, enrolling 95,000 more students than they have room for while other schools are under capacity.

The city has spent $9 billion since 2005 to build new schools with almost 100,000 additional seats, and plans to start building another 60,000 seats at a cost of $8 billion over the next five years.

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The report contends that new construction is an expensive, slow, and inefficient way to address overcrowding. It argues that the city should redraw elementary school attendance zones to shift students from overcrowded schools and cap enrollment at the moat crowded high schools.

Similar redistricting plans have been tried on a smaller scale, but have at times received pushback from parents.