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$1.6 Billion Annual Costs For Thousands Of New Teachers Under Class Size Law In New York City

class sizes
$1.6 Billion Annual Costs For Thousands Of New Teachers Under Class Size Law In New York City (PHOTO: Yahoo News)

Wednesday, New York City recently passed a class sizes law that could cost at least $1.6 billion each year to employ an additional 17,700 teachers, according to an analysis by the Independent Budget Office.

class sizes

$1.6 Billion Annual Costs For Thousands Of New Teachers Under Class Size Law In New York City (PHOTO: New York Daily News)

Class Size Law That Cost At Least $1.6 Billion Each Year Of New Teachers In NYC

The projections topped the city’s estimates to comply with the class sizes law, which the Adams administration has repeatedly criticized as a costly mandate that pits competing school priorities against each other for a finite amount of cash.

Louisa Chafee, director of the publicly funded watchdog agency stated that their analysis provided some caveats about how implementation might conflict with fiscal constraints and hiring challenges.

Analysts found that the cost could reach up to $1.9 billion depending on the average salary for newly hired teachers plus raises approved by the teachers union in a new contract this week, Daily News reported.

The money would need to be spent on schools with higher grade levels, where students have more class choices. The estimates surpassed the city’s estimate of $1.3 billion, which pre-dated the contract between the city and the United Federation of Teachers. The analysis showed that the city will receive $756 million in state funding break between class size law reduction and other priorities for the next school year.

The class size law was into regulation in 2022 and caps kindergarten through third-grade classes at 20 pupils, fourth- through eighth grade at 23 students, and high school at 25 students.

The administration has continued to distance itself from the class size law, even after it was passed.

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The Class Size Law Is Expected To Arrive In NYC AS Schools Are In Financial Bind

The full phase-in of the class size law is anticipated to reach as city schools are in a financial bond.

According to the analysis, NYC intends to cut vacant positions including teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals that are financed but remain unfilled by 3,500 openings through 2026. That might place more strain on the education allocation just as NYC loses entry to an influx of money for pandemic healing.

While over-enrollment is more prevailing in schools with a lower percentage of poverty, the data shows, that the legislation prioritizes reducing class sizes law in high-poverty schools. Only 9 percent of the schools with the highest poverty rates met the class size requirements in the 2021-22 school year.

Haimson also pointed to potential cost savings from smaller classes, including lowering remediation costs and referrals to special education.

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