BROOKLYN - Department of Education officials are holding public hearings to push a plan designed to cut class size and boost teacher hiring.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently proposed a plan for spending $228 million in new aid available through the state's "Contracts for Excellence." The program, created by state law, holds school districts accountable for how they spend education aid to improve achievements.

The DOE wants the money to go toward creating more classrooms and hiring more instructors. However, some parents argue the money would be better spent on improving poor-performing middle schools.