When they're not getting knocked by city leaders or slyly mocked in online listicles, New York City's public schools are being asked to do more with less. Schools citywide are becoming impossibly overcrowded, and the Post has now identified the worst in the city: South Bronx's Walton Avenue School, which packs 257 students into a space fit for only 57 [DOE pdf]. The figures put Walton at 351% over capacity.
On top of all that, Walton opened last year and shares its building with two other public schools—Lucero Elementary and PS 64 are housed in the same space. The Post reports that Lucero sits at 24 percent over capacity, while PS 64 is just 1 percent over (and is set to close in 2016 due to low performance). Trailers have been placed in the building's yard to accommodate some of the classrooms' crowds. All told, nearly 900 students are jammed into the building on Walton Avenue.
"It's like cattle— get 'em in, get 'em out," Andres Alvarez told the Post as he picked his children up from the school. "It's hard to think they'll pay attention to detail when you have 30 kids in a class. It's a dysfunctional situation." Dysfunctional is putting it mildly: time and again it has been proven that smaller class sizes increase the likelihood of a student getting into college and give teachers the chance to spend more time with each student, which leads to richer and more focused education.
Over the next five years the city foresees a need for 50,000 new seats in public schools, but at present only has 38,000 in its capital plan. The DOE has shuttered over 140 schools since 2002; while 589 new schools have technically opened since that date, many of them are small "co-located" schools that share space in a way akin to jam-packed Walton.