SCHOOL PRIORITIES IN REVERSE

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The ratio of students to teachers in the city’s public schools increased 11 percent between 1990 and 1996, despite a $1.1 billion hike in the amount of money spent on school staff, according to a report published last week by the Citizens Budget Commission, a business-backed watchdog group.

While the school board–and City Hall–boosted teacher compensation, officials failed to budget for new staff as the number of students soared, the authors write. The report slams the administration for cutting much-needed maintenance budgets and spreading billions of dollars in capital investment so thinly across the system that overcrowding continued to worsen. School buildings have deteriorated so fast that once-reparable facilities may now have to be replaced.

The report is the fourth in a new series by the CBC critiquing municipal services. Last week, Mayor Giuliani told reporters he had no interest in the CBC analysis. “They criticize everything we do,” he said. For a copy of the report, call (212) 279-2605.