Author Topic: Funding to Reduce Class Size  (Read 1993 times)

Offline toddg

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Funding to Reduce Class Size
« on: November 29, 2007, 02:42:50 PM »
http://www.timesledger.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19068906&BRD=2676&PAG=461

TimesLedger.com
11/29/2007
State gives District 30 funds to cut class sizes
By Jeremy Walsh

Queens schools are getting roughly one-fourth of special state education funding allocated to New York City, with western Queens capturing nearly half of the funding to help reduce class size.
The city received $257.9 million this year from the state's Contracts for Excellence program, and Queens got $61.7 million of the total.

District 24, which includes schools in Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights, Maspeth and Ridgewood, got $17.8 million. District 30, which covers Astoria, Long Island City and Jackson Heights, drew $10 million. To the south, District 27, which includes the Rockaways, received $12.6 million.

Debra Wexler, spokeswoman for the city Department of Education, said the concentration of funding is no coincidence.

"We took a look at student characteristics and identified schools that have been underfunded relative to similarly situated schools," she said.

Contracts for Excellence are designed to improve school and student performance by linking new investments to proven practices and programs. Under the law, a school district's Contract for Excellence must specify how the district will spend its increase in state aid.

"Providing additional resources without accountability is the same as throwing money at a problem and hoping it will just go away," Gov. Eliot Spitzer said when he announced the allocations.

The money given to schools under Contract for Excellence is allocated for class size reduction, which may lead to the hiring of new teachers or the conversion or construction of new classroom space; for extending classroom hours or hiring new teachers so that students get more instruction; for staff training and development; and for restructuring middle schools and high schools.

The overwhelming bulk of the funding in Queens districts will be used to reduce class size.

Dmytro Fedkowskyj, vice president of Community Education Council 24, said District 24 has larger class sizes than most other districts in the city.

He was skeptical about how the funding would actually be used.

"You have all these different agencies talking about how the money should be spent," he said. "The DOE has its own way of thinking about and doing things, but then these advocacy groups come in with their own informed opinions. Not everyone's singing the same tune here."

New York City Chancellor of Schools Joel Klein praised the program, calling it a "plan that makes success more likely for our highest-need students and schools."

The state Department of Education also recently approved the city's five-year class-size reduction plan. More than $153 million of the City's Contracts funding was designated for class-size reduction efforts, with these resources used to hire more than 1,300 additional teachers and create more than 925 additional classrooms.

Fedkowskyj was emphatic about his district's overcrowding problem.

"At the end of the day, we need more classrooms to reduce class size," he said.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Jackson Heights Life

Funding to Reduce Class Size
« on: November 29, 2007, 02:42:50 PM »