Upper West Side Kindergartners Packed In Like Sardines

by - December 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm -

New data from the city Department of Education reveals that the Upper West Side has had the largest jump in kindergarten enrollments in the city, forcing local schools to stuff more and more kids into each class. There are 15 percent more kindergartners attending public school on the Upper West Side this year than last — 1,527 versus 1,325 last year — according to preliminary data from the city.

class size

Students rally for smaller class sizes. Photo from Class Size Matters organization.

Schools have added classes to accommodate the growth, but they haven’t quite kept up, meaning teachers are now staring at more little faces in each classroom than they were last year. Kindergarten classes in the neighborhood have swelled to an average of 20.9 students per class, up from 20.4 last year and 19.9 two years ago.

And the class size problem isn’t just on the Upper West Side. Citywide, 38% of kindergarten classes have at least 25 students in them, according to a recent New York Times article, which relied on data from advocacy organization Class Size Matters.

New developments and a newfound willingness by parents to send their children to public school have led to the increased enrollment numbers. Upper West Siders have complained to the Deparment of Education about the overcrowding, and the local community board has made getting a new school built its top priority in the upcoming year. But the community board’s capital plan also highlights this troubling fact: “The Department of Education’s 2010-14 Capital Plan, despite allocating over $2.7 billion for thecreation of 17,000 new seats Citywide (plus an additional 8,000 seats deferred from the 2005-09 Capital Plan), fails to add a single seat for elementary, middle school or high school students in CSD3.”

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