New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Michael Elsen-Rooney

New York Daily News NYC Council member suggests using empty storefronts, shuttered private schools for remote learning childcare by Michael Elsen-Rooney


NYC Council member suggests using empty storefronts, shuttered private schools for remote learning childcare

As city parents scramble for alternate childcare arrangements with the prospect of part-time school hours this fall, one city lawmaker says they could start by tapping hundreds of empty storefronts and shuttered Catholic schools.

City Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) wants to use spaces like vacant community centers, libraries and closed private schools as childcare centers where students can work on remote learning with adult supervision on days they’re not allowed in their schools.

“Families are looking for certainty,” Kallos said, “and the possibility of having to stay home several days each week to care for young kids “throws out any notion of stability in anyone’s life.”

“We may be able to address this crisis with an expanded version of the ‘emergency childcare centers’ that the City opened in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, by opening remote learning centers,” Kallos added in a letter to Mayor de Blasio and schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

City officials announced this week the majority of the 1.1 million public school students would spend between one and three days a week in their classrooms this year to keep numbers down and maintain social distance. The decision means headaches for working parents forced to find child care.

More than 300,000 families - close 50% of those with kids in Pre-K or elementary school said they’d need help with child care on days their kids are home from school, an Education Department survey revealed.

Kallos says the city could start the gargantuan task of erecting a shadow childcare system by identifying vacant spaces — including businesses that shuttered both before and during the pandemic.

“We should be leaving no stone unturned,” he said.

Kallos cites a spate of closed Duane Reades and Chase Bank, along with recently-shuttered Catholic schools, as possible examples, noting the Citywide Administrative Services Department surveyed empty properties during the pandemic to scout for medical space and should have a database of suitable locations.

 

New York Daily News NYC Council bill seeks to make free summer camp available to all city students by Michael Elsen-Rooney

NYC Council bill seeks to make free summer camp available to all city students

“This Universal Summer Youth Programs legislation will finally put an end to the budget dance and put our city on a path to guarantee every child a place to enjoy their summer,” said Kallos.

The push to expand summer programs comes on the heels of a City Council hearing that explored the possibility of universal after school programs

New York Daily News NYC Council to hold hearing on universal after-school by Michael Elsen-Rooney

NYC Council to hold hearing on universal after-school

“I want to wake up in a city where all public students have universal after-school,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos (D–Manhattan), the sponsor of a 2018 bill that would require the city to offer free after-school to any public school student ages 3-21 who requests it.

“Universal access to after-school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5 p.m., if not longer,” Kallos said.

New York Daily News City fills in details of plan to stave off school bus delays by Michael Elsen-Rooney

City fills in details of plan to stave off school bus delays

Every city school bus will have GPS this fall, to prevent hours long delays that have plagued school years past, the Daily News has learned.

Education Department officials will also be beefing up staff and adding steeper penalties for blown bus routes, according to Miranda Barbot, a spokeswoman for the agency.

City officials announced Wednesday that the changes will take effect by the first day of school on Sept. 5, in addition to a longer-term plan to partner with the rideshare app Via to develop an app that allows parents to track school buses in real time.