Category Archives: Education

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.


  • 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.


  • 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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New York City By The Numbers

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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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New York City By The Numbers

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

The City’s 2015-2019 Capital Plan for Public Schools: How Many New Seats & When Will They Be Ready?



Timeline for Design Start and Estimated

Completion of New Capacity Seats


  • Under the recently adopted fiscal year 2015-2019 capital plan for schools, 62 percent of the 32,560 new seats will be completed within the five-year plan period, including projects that had been funded for design but not construction under the previous plan. Another 21 percent of the seats are expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Including seats scheduled for completion after 2019-2020, design will begin for 79 percent of the new seats during the five-year plan period. Design for most of the other seats began during the preceding plan.
  • An average of 5,907 seats is expected to be completed each year from 2017-2018 through 2021-2022; over 95 percent of the new seats will be available by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • The period from design to completion is typically expected to take from three to four years.

Prepared by Sarita Subramanian
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data

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New York City By The Numbers

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How Long Is the Commute for New York City High School Students From Their Homes to Their Schools?

  • Citywide, the average high school student’s commute to school—by subway, bus, or foot—in school year 2011-2012 was estimated to take 32 minutes. In comparison, the commutes for city residents to jobs in the five boroughs averaged 39 minutes in 2012.
  • More than 1 in 5 high school students had commutes of 45 minutes or longer.
  • There was significant variation across census tracts in the share of students with longer commutes, reflecting both access to transit and school choice preferences.
  • The city’s Department of Education allows “hardship transfers” for high school students with commutes of more than 75 minutes. Less than 3 percent of high school students had commutes that long in school year 2011-2012.

    The Geography of Student Commutes Longer Than 45 Minutes to School, School Year 2011-2012


    Prepared by Asa Wilks
    New York City Independent Budget Office

    SOURCES: IBO analysis of Department of Education Data, American Community Survey
    NOTES: Calculations based on GoogleMaps estimate of trip times as of January and February 2014 between each student’s home and school address. Calculations reflect commuting time during business hours for students attending New York City high schools during the 2011-2012 school year. Trip duration includes walking time.

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    New York City By The Numbers

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    How Many Students Attend Nonpublic K-12 Schools in New York City?

    New York City Public Schools: Have Per Pupil Budgets Changed Since 2010-2011?

    Where Do NYC’s Teachers and Principals Live Compared With Where They Work?


    • 67% of the 70,328 teachers live within the five boroughs
    • Teachers in Queens and the Bronx are the most likely to live outside the five boroughs
    • 81% of Staten Island teachers live in the same borough as they work, as do 57% of Brooklyn teachers


    • 66% of the 1,570 principals live within the five boroughs
    • Principals in the Bronx and Queens are the most likely to live outside the five boroughs
    • 69% of Staten Island principals live in the same borough as they work, as do 45% of Brooklyn principals



    Print version available here.

    New York City By The Numbers

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