City schools open in more than 50 states

NEW YORK (AP) New York City schools opened Wednesday, with parents, students and staff joining teachers and teachers unions in a push to combat a rising school enrollment crisis that threatens to overwhelm already overwhelmed public schools.

About 500,000 New Yorkers were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches in the city’s public schools, up from 500,837 on Wednesday, according to the mayor’s office.

More than 2.2 million New Yorkers attended schools this year, and New York’s per capita spending on education reached $12,849, up 3.3 percent from a year ago.

About 4,000 schools were closed due to staffing shortages, including about 500 schools that are required to open in certain parts of the city to help accommodate students from low-income families.

Schools in other major New York cities also opened Wednesday.

The city is on pace to have a surplus of nearly 2.4 million students in 2019, according the mayor, who has touted the city as a magnet for talent.

The new charter schools are meant to boost enrollment and address a crisis that has been on the minds of parents and students for decades.

A report released this month by the state comptroller found that New York schools had fallen behind other cities by nearly 40 percent and were struggling to recruit enough students.

It found that nearly 40,000 students were in charter schools and nearly 17,000 were in district-run public schools that were unable to meet the state’s needs.

The schools will be open in the coming weeks and months in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland, Rockaway and the Bronx-Queens region, according with the city.

The schools will also be open on Staten Island.