Report: Two-Thirds of NYC Schools Not ADA Compliant
Monday, August 28, 2023
A recent report finds only around 31% of New York City public schools are disability accessible.
The report, from Advocates for Children of New York, finds districts with a majority of schools not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act are in Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx.
Sarah Part - senior policy analyst with Advocates for Children of New York - said the group is looking for the DOE to invest $1.25 Billion in accessibility upgrades during their next capital plan.
But, she noted that the money will only go so far.
"So, it'll take some of those buildings to full accessibility or to a much higher level of partial accessibility," said Part. "They might not be perfect, as far as ADA compliance, but there'll be a legitimate educational option for a student who has a typical disability or a teacher or a staff member who uses a wheelchair and wants to work there."
In the 2020-2024 capital plan, the city dedicated $750 million for these upgrades. Once that funding ends in 2024, more than one-third of schools will be fully accessible - with only one district having half of all schools accessible.
This proposed funding will help bring an estimated 150 to 200 buildings into complete accessibility by 2029.
While this might be somewhat expensive, Part said this money will make up for the lack of investment taken after the passage of the ADA. She describes other challenges which could come up.
"I know with widespread inflation and construction costs have been rising," said Part. "That makes it more difficult for the school construction authorities to do such projects. Some buildings are quite old, and it's also just like the city's school system is so massive and sprawling, the scale of the problem is just really huge."
Part said she is glad about the progress that's been made already, noting there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.
She said she hopes to see all these school upgrades done in time for the 40th anniversary of the ADA in 2030.
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