Jeanine Ramirez. New York One News. 4/24/2006.

Local officials announced Monday that more than $11 billion in state and city funding will be used for school construction, expansion and repairs in all five boroughs.

More than $9 billion will be used to modernize and expand current buildings. The state and city will evenly split funding for those projects, while the state will provide an additional $2 billion towards new construction.

The money will be used to build 97 new schools and for repairs over the next five years. Officials say more than 65,000 seats will be added to city schools in that time.

Construction on some schools starts this summer.



The governor and mayor traveled to Brooklyn Monday to cross the T's and dot the I's on a multi-billion dollar school construction plan for all five boroughs. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez has more from one Brooklyn neighborhood that's waited decades for a high school.

The building says “for rent,” but not for long. There are big plans for this Sunset Park site; a new high school building that will house three separate academies serving more than 1,600 students.

It'll be the first time the heavily populated neighborhood will have a high school, but not for lack of trying. Residents have been fighting for one for more than three decades.

“I’ve been on the board since the early 70's. It's a long, long time,” said Community Board 7 Chairman Joseph Longobardi. “I am most grateful that most of the politicians have worked together and they're able to see that it's not about politics, it's about our kids.”

Elected officials filled the warehouse Monday, finally announcing plans for a Sunset Park High School, after the project had been chopped out of the city's budget time and time again. While that school will cost about $90 million to build, billions more will now be available for other school construction projects through a complicated borrowing plan financed by the city and the state.

"New York City can now go ahead with completing the largest school construction program in our history,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “It is a sweeping $13 billion, five-year plan, and its effects will be felt for decades to come."

Officials did not want to talk about the billions of dollars the courts have ordered the state to give the city for operating expenses as the result of a lawsuit filed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. Instead, they focused on the construction money, which will be used to build 97 new schools in all five boroughs, as well as expand and update existing facilities.

In total, about 66,000 new seats will be built in city schools over the next five years. That will help schools like Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge, which is operating at more than 180 percent capacity.

This school and others in the area have been serving Sunset Park students.

“Children are just sitting in trailers and sitting in areas that they need not be. So this is finally a reality, and we have stepped to the plate and I believe that’s what the leadership in New York City has done,” said Brooklyn City Councilmember Sara Gonzalez.

“Lafayette, FDR - all of those schools will have some breathing room, and we'll be able to balance the student population and get a better education,” added State Senator Marty Golden.

Construction on the new high school starts this summer, and doors are expected to open in the fall of 2009.