The $64,000 (or $64 million) question is…How will all this residential development affect the existing schools?

Here is the answer:

As you can see from the numbers many, many more school-aged children have and will move into the neighborhood  and there is no where near enough capacity* in the existing schools. This doesn’t even take into account any developments that have yet to be announced or conceived of. Clearly we have a big problem coming down the turnpike.

How did we arrive at these numbers?

When we started looking for a way to quantify the effect of the building and population boom on the neighborhood we started with the census. But the 2010 census data doesn’t provide a complete picture of who is living in the fastest growing neighborhood in the city today. One estimate from 2011 had the population of the neighborhood increasing 50% between 2010 and 2011 alone. Nor does the census predict where things are trending in the future as the biggest wave of building is still to come and will add thousands upon thousands more residents to the neighborhood.

Since the census provides an incomplete picture, we devised a different empirical approach. We created a spreadsheet detailing all of the new residential developments that have been completed since 2005 or are currently underway or being planned.  The full set of numbers can be found below.  These numbers were also the basis for the map we created laying out all the development in the neighborhood.

With hard numbers to work with showing how many residential units have already been added (and will be added in the next five years), we next needed a method for estimating the impact on neighborhood schools. It turns out that the NYC School Construction Authority already has a one, a formula it has created to estimate the number of new children likely to attend public school per new residential unit. So we did the math…

According to the SCA:

  • In Brooklyn, you can expect to add 0.29 children, who are likely to attend public K-5, for every 1 new residential unit built.

Next we merely multiplied: (the number of new residential units) X 0.29 (# of children likely to attend public K-5, for every 1 new residential unit built) = the numbers you see at the top of the page (we update these numbers as the spreadsheet gets updated with the most recent information.)

  • Using the new housing multipliers for children of middle school age likely to attend public school, Downtown Brooklyn can expect nearly 1000 more children entering middle school from the neighborhood.

Here is the full spreadsheet with all the numbers.  Please let us know if we are missing something or are wrong about a number or assumption:

* The DoE has two methods for measuring school capacity.  The “target method” is the ideal number of children for the size of the facility.  The “historical method” is the maximum number of seats that completely fill up the facility.