From NY Magazine:
In 2007, the Department of Buildings issued permits for 31,918 units, a 35-year high-water mark. By the most conservative estimate, that year’s activity alone brought hundreds of millions of dollars into the city coffers in closing taxes, much of it from buyers lured by strong public schools. But a disconnect yawned between development and the children it engendered. The crux of it, says Beveridge, is revealed in PlaNYC 2030, the mayor’s blueprint for a livable city of 9 million people—who, it should be noted, will be making lots more kindergartners. The document called for parkland within ten minutes of each New Yorker and a local war on global warming, but spent less than a sentence on the DOE’s capacity needs. “School construction is not part of the plan—full stop,” Beveridge says. “They plan all the other infrastructure, but they don’t worry about the schools.”
Bloomberg had fashioned a city of cranes and baby strollers, but only the cranes fell into his field of sight. “The city booked the revenue,” says Eric Greenleaf, the chair of P.S. 234’s PTA overcrowding committee, “but it didn’t book the cost.”
It was hard to fathom how Klein’s brain trust could have been so Van Winkled to the emergence of family-style Manhattan. The Buildings Department sits around the corner from the DOE’s home at the Tweed Courthouse. Both report directly to Bloomberg, who is nothing if not nimble and decisive. And yet the left hand had no truck with the right—here was mayoral control without the control.
In some of the poorer districts in the outer boroughs, families are left with the worst of all worlds: underperforming zoned schools that have no room. The DOE perennially “caps” the enrollments of dozens of schools in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn, busing hundreds of kindergartners out of places like Elmhurst or Norwood.