An audit by the City Comptroller found that an astounding 33% of New York City public schools were overcrowded and that Tweed used "fuzzy math" and creative bookkeeping to falsely claim that these overcrowded schools were within capacity. The audit clearly points out the shenanigans the DOE used to shoehorn students into inadequate spaces and co-locate charter schools into existing buildings. Some of the most startling findings in the Comptroller's audit was.
First, the deliberate shrinking of regular classroom space from 600 to 500 square feet by the now discontinued and discredited Office of Portfolio Management to hide overcrowding.
Second, the slashing of specialty rooms such as music, art, and science labs from 1,000 to 500 square feet and special education rooms from 770 to 500 square feet to give the false impression of adequate space being available.
Third, enrichment rooms for subjects like dance, drama, and computer courses were included as classroom space in the classroom utilization report known as the "blue book", to make it seem that there was more space per student then there really was.
Finally, many guidance and social work staff were crammed into closet-like spaces to give the false appearance of adequate classroom space.
Why did the Bloomberg Administration fudge the numbers? How else can they ensure that charter schools and his favored small schools can be squeezed into an existing public school building? Who needs a dance studio, a band room, or a Science lab when it can be downsized into cramped classrooms and make it appear the school is not overcrowded. Moreover, who cares if Tweed included trailers, most of them over a decade old and some with mold as part of the equation? An article by Juan Gonzales is a must read as he discusses many of the problems found in the audit.
Just like the graduation rate, the utilization rate used in the DOE's "blue book" is bogus and uses "fuzzy math" to falsely show figures that served the purpose of the DOE and not that of the students who suffered from it.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio is starting to address this issue, it will take many years to change the culture at Tweed and he really needs to put Chancellor Carmen Farina back into retirement and hire a competent educator to be Chancellor who will really clean house of the Bloomberg ideology that permeates throughout the senior management at the DOE..