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New York City Public Schools Unveils Next Phase of Class Size Reduction Plan for 2024–2025 School Year

  • Posted: Tue May 28, 2024

Plan includes an immediate $182 million going to schools for next year to support class size reduction.

New York, NY – New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) is proud to announce the release of the draft version of the second annual Class Size Reduction Plan for the 2024-2025 school year. In this plan, district-level targets have been set to improve the percent of classes at or below the new class size caps by 3% across all districts. Principals are being given a menu of optional implementation strategies to select from to meet this goal, including using new funding to hire staff, repurposing space, optimizing teacher programming, reallocating existing funding, and utilizing virtual learning. They will have flexibility in how they utilize these strategies or others, working with superintendents and school communities.

To support implementation, NYCPS is providing an additional $45 million in Contracts for Excellence funds and $137 million earmarked exclusively for class size reduction, focused on high-need schools with space availability.

This comprehensive plan aims to ensure continued compliance with class size regulations and further enhance the learning environment across the city.

"Our draft class size reduction plan for the 2024-2025 school year outlines clear, actionable steps to ensure we remain in compliance with the class size law,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “Further, it provides targeted support for high-need schools and supports robust teacher recruitment – powered by $182 million in new school funding. By working collaboratively with the United Federation of Teachers and the Council for School Supervisors and Administrators, we are committed to creating optimal learning environments that will set our students up for success."

Additional Highlights of the Plan:

Current Compliance and Projections:

  • NYCPS has maintained a rate of 40% of classes at or below the caps for the 2023-2024 school year, surpassing the required benchmark of 20%.
  • For the 2024-2025 school year, the plan provides the support necessary to maintain compliance with the law, which requires 40% of classes to be at or below the new class size caps.

District and Borough Compliance:

  • Districts with the highest rates of classes at or below the caps include Districts 23 (Ocean Hill, Brownsville), 7 (Mott Haven, Melrose), and 16 (Stuyvesant Heights, Crown Heights).
  • The Bronx leads in borough-wide percentage of classes at or below the caps at 54%, while Staten Island has the lowest rate at 24%.

Focus on High-Need Schools:

  • Schools with the most need have the lowest class sizes overall, with 62% of their classes at or below the caps. In contrast, only 25% of classes in schools with the least need are at or below the caps.

Space and Staffing Requirements:

  • An estimated approx. 540 schools require additional space for full compliance at the end of the phase-in in SY 2027-28, pending confirmation from Principals following a survey and review process.
  • NYCPS anticipates the need to hire 10-12,000 teachers, including 3-4,000 special education teachers, to support the reduction in class sizes.

Teacher Recruitment and Pathways:

  • Enhanced recruitment efforts include an earlier application window for high-needs schools, peer recruiters, school tours, and increased early recruitment stipends.
  • NYCPS is expanding pathways for students, paraprofessionals, and teacher aides to transition into teaching roles.

Capital Planning:

  • In collaboration with the School Construction Authority, NYCPS is working to increase the number of available seats in high-need areas. The plan includes the addition of 27,000 seats from previous capital plans and recommendations for converting spaces in 25 schools to achieve compliance.

The New York City class size reduction law, passed in 2022 by the New York State Legislature, sets new caps for classes in NYC Public Schools. The law set specific benchmarks for compliance over a five year timeframe, starting with a 20% compliance rate for the 2023-2024 school year, increasing to 40% for the 2024-2025 school year. Schools are required to work towards these benchmarks until full phase-in in SY 2027-28.