Category Archives: Education

As the Number of Students Living in Shelters Has Grown, Has The Increase Been Uniform Among Schools Across the City?

Are Fewer Child Care Vouchers for 4-Year-Olds Being Used Because of the Expansion of Full-Day Pre-K?

Under federal and state law, families with young children receiving cash assistance and participating in work or training programs are guaranteed vouchers to pay for their choice of child care providers. A limited number of vouchers are also available to low-income working families. As the de Blasio Administration moved to vastly expand the number of full-day pre-kindergarten slots available for the city’s children, many expected that there would be a corresponding decline in the use of child care vouchers for 4-year-olds.

  • From October 2013 through October 2015 the number of children enrolled in full-day pre-k more than tripled, rising from 19,490 to 69,090.
  • Over the same period, the use of of full-time vouchers for the care of 4-year-olds fell. For the children of cash assistance families the decrease was only 9.5 percent, from 6,128 to 5,549.
  • For children in low-income families the number fell by 23.3 percent, from 1,395 to 1,070.
  • Together, these changes mean that as of fall 2015, 6,619 children were still in voucher-funded full-time child care rather than Department of Education pre-k classes.
  • The relatively small number of 4-year-olds in part-time voucher child care increased over the two years by 36.9 percent, from 279 to 382. It is possible that many of them were attending pre-k classes and using the vouchers for after-school care.


Parents who use child care vouchers can choose among a wide variety of child care providers including informal care, family child care, and center-based care. Not all of these providers offer the educational elements available to children enrolled in the Department of Education’s pre-k programs.

 

Prepared by Paul Lopatto
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

SOURCES: Department of Education; Administration for Children’s Services
NOTES: Pre-k enrollment is as of October of each year. The voucher numbers for school years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 are averages for September through June. The voucher numbers for 2015-2016 are averages for September through December.

New York City By The Numbers

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Are Students With Disabilities Suspended at a Higher Rate Than Other Students?

Although students with disabilities comprised about 18 percent of the overall student body in school year 2012-2013, they made up about 30 percent of the suspended student population (defined as the population of students who have been suspended at least one time).

Approximately 95 percent of students with disabilities fall into one of six disability classifications: autistic, emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, intellectually disabled, speech impaired, and other health impaired. There are wide variations in suspension rates across these categories (suspension rates were calculated by dividing the number of suspended students in each category by the number of all students in that category: for example, the number of learning disabled students with at least one suspension by the total number of learning disabled students).

  • Students without disabilities had a 2.7 percent suspension rate in school year 2012-2013.
  • Overall, students with disabilities had an average suspension rate of 7.4 percent.
  • Students classified as emotionally disturbed had a suspension rate of 15.4 percent, which is more than five times higher than the suspension rate of students without disabilities and about twice as high as the overall suspension rate for students with disabilities.
  • Students classified as learning disabled and other health impaired were suspended at rates almost three times as high as students without disabilities (7.4 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively).
  • Students with autism and students with intellectual disabilities were suspended at lower rates than students without disabilities, and were suspended far less frequently than students with other types of disabilities.

Prepared by Katie Mosher
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data
NOTE: 2012-2013 was the most recent year of data available at the time of analysis. Excludes schools in the citywide special education district (District 75). For more information on students with disabilities, see http://schools.nyc.gov/academics/specialeducation/default.htm

New York City By The Numbers

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Do Some City Schools Have an Unusually Large Share of Students Who Live in Public Housing?

In two recent high-profile school rezoning controversies, overcrowded schools primarily serving higher-income students were located in close proximity to underutilized schools largely populated by students in public housing. To shed light on this issue, IBO examined the distribution of students from public housing across New York City’s public schools.1

The New York City Housing Authority provides housing to low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs. In 2013, public housing was home to 4.8 percent of the city’s residents, but the nearly 95,000 students who lived in public housing made up 8.6 percent of the public school population, including charter school students.

IBO calculated the share of elementary and middle school students in each school who lived in public housing in order to gauge how the students were distributed across schools during the 2013-2014 school year. We chose to look at grades K-8 because high schools tend to be less tied to specific geographic zones.

 

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  • In 123 schools serving grades kindergarten through 8, students in public housing comprised more than 35 percent of enrollment.
  • This 9 percent of schools accounted for more than one-third of all K-8 students living in public housing.
  • Conversely, most schools served few students living in public housing: In 702 schools, 5 percent or fewer of their K-8 students lived in public housing.
  • The average K-8 student attended a school where 8 percent of students lived in public housing.

Prepared by Stephanie Kranes
 New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education and New York City Housing Authority data
NOTE: 1“Race and Class Collide in a Plan for Two Brooklyn Schools,”  “For Two Sharply Divided Manhattan Schools, an Uncertain Path to Integration

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Do Some Schools Have a Disproportionate Share of Students Living In Homeless Shelters or Doubled Up in Another Household?

About 75,000 students—or over 7 percent—of the city’s 1.1 million public school students lived in the city’s homeless shelter system or were doubled up in the home of a friend or family member at some point during school year 2013-2014.  A disproportionately large share of temporarily housed students were concentrated in a relatively small number of city schools.

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  • About four hundred schools (close to 25 percent of the total 1,669 schools examined) served a population where at least 5 percent of students enrolled were identified as living in shelters and at least 7 percent of students were identified as living in doubled-up housing during all or part of school year 2013-2014.
  • One hundred and twenty schools served a population where more than 10 percent of students were identified as living in shelters; there were 12 schools in which more than 20 percent of students were identified as living in shelters.
  • Two hundred and eighteen schools served a population where more than 10 percent of students were identified as living in doubled-up housing. There were 34 schools in which more than 20 percent of enrollment was identified as living doubled up.
  • More than 560 schools, or roughly 34 percent, have less than 1 percent of their student population living in a shelter. Nearly 280 schools have virtually no students identified as living in doubled-up housing.

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  • Analysis of student data from 2013-2014 shows that students living at least part of the school year in homeless shelters were absent from school far more frequently—about 18 days more—than their permanently housed peers as well as those who were doubled up.
  • Students who resided in homeless shelters were suspended from school at more than twice the rate of students who lived in permanent housing.
  • State test scores for 3rd through 8th graders were also significantly lower for both students living in homeless shelters and those in doubled-up housing situations compared with their permanently housed peers.

 Prepared by Liza Pappas

New York City Independent Budget Office

 

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New York City By The Numbers

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How Much Do Public School Budgets Vary Across the City’s School Districts and Boroughs?

There is a great deal of variation in average per pupil allocations across community school districts. In 2013-2014, the last school year in which budgets were set by the Bloomberg Administration, school district allocations averaged $8,255 per student in grades pre-k through 8. The difference in per pupil allocations between the district with the highest average allocation (district 16, Bedford-Stuyvesant) and the lowest (district 24, Corona/Elmhurst) was $3,800.

This variation is not unexpected. Schools recieve funding from a variety of state, city, and federal sources, many of these funding streams attempt to direct resources to students deemed to have greater needs. Moreover, per pupil spending is also a function of school size, with large schools generally receiving less funding per pupil than schools with fewer students.

Average Allocation: $8,255

  • Some part of the difference in allocations relates to the relative socio-economic status of the communities within each district.
  • The largest per pupil allocations are found in the South Bronx (district 7), Central Brooklyn (district 16), Upper Manhattan (districts 4 and 5), and the Lower East Side (district 1). The lowest per student allocations are found in Queens (districts 24, 25, and 26) and Manhattan (district 2).

The results displayed by borough and funding source shed more light on these differences.

  • The three largest funding streams for schools, Fair Student Funding, other city funds, and Federal Title 1, drive the major difference across boroughs. Schools in Queens receive, on average, $1,310 less per pupil from these combined sources than schools in the Bronx.

School size also contributes to the differences in per pupil allocations across districts and boroughs. Generally, large schools receive less funding in per pupil terms than small schools. This is likely because schoolwide costs are being shared over a greater number of students. Queens, with the largest average school size, had the lowest per pupil allocations, while Manhattan and the Bronx, with the two smallest average school sizes, had the two largest per pupil allocations.

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 Prepared by Ray Domanico

New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data
NOTES: Excludes high schools and schools in the citywide special education district (district 75) because they are not evenly distributed across community school districts. Spending allocated to school budgets exclude fringe benefits.

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Do a Larger Share of Students Attending the City’s Specialized High Schools Live in Neighborhoods With Higher Median Incomes than Those Attending the City’s Other High Schools?

The city’s Department of Education runs nine specialized high schools that are among the most selective of the city’s public high schools. Eight schools admit students based solely on the score attained on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test and admission to LaGuardia High School is based on an audition. All 8th graders and first-time 9th graders who are New York City residents are eligible to take the test. The score required for acceptance depends on the school and varies each year.

IBO used the address of each student attending a New York City public high school in the 2012-2013 school year to identify the census tract in which each student lived and the median household income for households residing in the tract. We then compared the median incomes of the neighborhoods where students lived who were attending the specialized high schools with those of students attending all other public high schools.

  • Students in the specialized high schools came from census tracts where the median household income averaged $62,457 compared with $46,392 for students in other high schools. (All dollar amounts are reported in 2012 dollars).
  • If we rank the census tracts by their median income and then divide the tracts into equal fifths (quintiles), we observe large differences between the share of students in specialized high schools and other high schools from each quintile.

 

  • Only 11 percent of specialized high school students came from the lowest income census tracts (those where the median household income is less than or equal to $33,862) whereas 30 percent of students in other high schools came from these neighborhoods.
  • Twenty-six percent of specialized high school students reside in the top income quintile (the 22 percent of census tracts with median incomes over $81,650) compared with just 7 percent of those attending other high schools
  • Overall, the share of students attending specialized high schools increases steadily and then drops marginally in the two highest quintiles, as we move from the census tracts with lower median household incomes to the census tracts with higher median incomes. For students attending other Department of Education high schools, the pattern is the opposite: the share of students declines as median income increases.

 

Prepared by Stephanie Kranes
New York City Independent Budget Office

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New York City By The Numbers

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Is the City Spending at Least 1 Percent of Its Federal Title 1-A Funds on Parental Involvement?

Federal Title I-A funds provide assistance to schools and local educational agencies (in New York City, the Department of Education) that serve a large number or share of students from low-income families. Under federal rules, school systems that receive at least $500,000 in Title I-A funds must use at least 1 percent of their annual allocation for activities that promote parental involvement. Title 1-A requires parental input into determining the activities provided as well as their implementation. Although schools also use additional sources to fund parental involvement, only Title 1-A requires that parents be involved in planning for the use of these funds.

  • In school year 2013-2014, 1,292 schools (nearly 79 percent) of the city’s public schools received Title 1-A funds.
  • Schools receiving Title I-A funds collectively spent $11.2 million on parental involvement activities in 2013-2014—more than double the required minimum expenditure of $5.2 million for the Department of Education.

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  • The education department gives schools a targeted amount of 1 percent of their Title 1-A funds to spend on parental involvement in the department’s school budget allocations.
  • In school year 2013-2014, 10 percent of Title 1-A schools with parental involvement spending targets self-reported spending below the amount targeted and nearly 71 percent reported spending more than their assigned target amount.

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  • Nearly 70 percent of schools receiving Title I-A funds were targeted to spend between $1,000 and $5,000 for parental involvement.
  • For schools spending in this range, the expected expenditure equaled about 0.1-0.2 percent of an average school budget.
  • Lack of standardized reporting limits analysis by type of expenditure.

Prepared by Liza Pappas & Yolanda Smith
New York City Independent Budget Office

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How Many Students Can Enter a Gifted & Talented Program in New York City?

In the 2013-2014 school year, approximately 36,000 students took the test to determine their eligibility for a seat in a New York City public school Gifted & Talented program for the 2014-2015 school year. The test is grade-specific and any student entering grades K through 3 can potentially take it.

The Department of Education defines the criteria for acceptance to a Gifted & Talented, or G&T, program. Students must take two tests measuring their verbal and nonverbal skills. The scores of these tests are combined to find a single rank for the student based on their age and national norms. Students can apply to a district-level G&T program if they rank above the 90th percentile, and they can apply to any of the five citywide G&T programs if they rank above the 97th percentile. Students receive offers based on their ranked scores and their school preferences.

  • Roughly 5,400 incoming kindergarteners who took the G&T test in school year 2013-2014 (about 40 percent of the test-takers) surpassed the 90th percentile, making them eligible to apply for a G&T program—1,500 of them achieved the highest score.
  • But the school system had G&T program seats for less than half of the qualifying kindergarteners, only a total of 2,200 seats were available across the city. This included 273 seats in the five most selective citywide programs.
  • This gap between the number of students meeting the official criteria and the spots available has meant that in recent years most of the G&T programs can only accommodate students ranking closest to the 99th percentile.

Prepared by Diana Zamora Bonnet
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: Department of Education

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How Has the City’s Budget for Public Education Changed Since 2000?

  • Both total spending on public education and spending on Department of Education public school operations grew steadily from 2000-2010.
  • Spending on Department of Education operations has declined since then, while funding for charter schools and pass-through payments to nonpublic schools was greater in 2014 than in 2010.
  • Pension costs, payments to special education providers, and charter schools have been the major drivers of spending outside Department of Education public school operations.

The rise in per pupil spending on public education, including charter and nonpublic schools, was driven by growth in city funds.
State-funded per pupil spending increased steadily from 2004 until declining in 2009 with the onset of the recession.
Federal funds were largely flat on a per pupil basis except for the years the city received money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For more historical information dating to 1990 on school funding and spending, see IBO’s fiscal history table.

Prepared by Yolanda Smith
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: New York City Comptroller Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports; Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

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New York City By The Numbers

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