Restricts the sale, lease, transfer or use of existing outdoor school playgrounds for the construction or renovation of a school building which would eliminate use of such playground space for outdoor recreation unless an alternative plan for outdoor recreation is provided.
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to encourage the retention of adequate outdoor playground space for New York City school children. Further, that if existing playgrounds are sold, leased, transferred or used for school building construction in a way that eliminates such playground space, that the school establish a plan to secure suitable and adequate playground space for the physical recreational needs of such pupils.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Education Law section 2556(5) is amended to add a new sentence to this provision to encourage the school to provide for other types of recreational play spaces if existing playgrounds are subsequently used for school construction or siting of temporary classroom units. Under current law, Section 2555(5) requires open-air playgrounds be attached to all schoolhouses constructed in the city of New York. The difference between the original bill and this amended bill is that, at: the request of the City of New York, this provision shall not apply if playground space is lost due to construction or reconstruction activities that last for one year or less.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill is based on a report by then Member of Assembly Jeffrey Klein, Chair of the Assembly Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee. The report, "No Room In, The playground", dated September, 2003, found that there was a lack of adequate outdoor playground space in New York. City public schools. Further that this lack of outdoor play spaces lead to higher incidences of childhood Obesity and other unhealthy life style choices.
The issue of preserving school playground space has grown in importance in light of new concerns about the increasing incidence of poor health of our school children. One of the causes of this poor health is lack of physical activity which has engendered higher obesity rates for children. This increasing incidence of childhood obesity is manifesting itself in higher rates of diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and other pulmonary diseases. All of these indicators demonstrate the declining health of our young. Many studies show that poor health and unhealthy lifestyles established while young, leads to much poorer health outcomes as such children enter adulthood and beyond.
This legislation ensures that when playground space is lost or potentially lost, that the school should do its best to provide other open air playgrounds or other alternatives. These other alternatives should provide for suitable and adequate activities to accommodate the physical recreational needs of such students.
In the past, sometimes, outdoor playground space was relinquished to other school uses or the construction of Temporary Classroom Units. While it is important to give maximum flexibility to schools to reconfigure and adapt their physical layout to meet new demands, it is also important the some consideration be given to the retention of outdoor playgrounds to help to increase childhood health.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2006: S.2698 Referred to Education 2008: S.2239 Referred to Education 2010: S.1884 Passed Senate 2012: S.586 Reported to Senate Finance
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect 180 days after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2255 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 15, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to restricting the sale, lease, transfer or authorization of open-air schoolhouse playgrounds for certain uses THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 5 of section 2556 of the education law, such section as renumbered by chapter 762 of the laws of 1950, is amended to read as follows: 5. It shall be unlawful for a schoolhouse to be constructed in the city of New York without an open-air playground attached to or used in connection with the same. EXISTING PLAYGROUNDS SHALL NOT BE SOLD, LEASED OR TRANSFERRED, OR PERMANENTLY AUTHORIZED FOR OTHER USES SUCH AS SCHOOL BUILDING CONSTRUCTION, RENOVATION, PLACEMENT OR STORAGE OF BUILD- ING MATERIALS FOR SUCH WORK THAT WOULD ELIMINATE THE USE OF SUCH PLAY- GROUND SPACE FOR OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES UNLESS A PLAN IS ESTAB- LISHED AND IMPLEMENTED TO PROVIDE SUITABLE AND ADEQUATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES OR SPACE TO ACCOMMODATE THE PHYSICAL AND RECREATIONAL NEEDS OF THE PUPILS OF SUCH BUILDING. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT APPLY TO SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION OR RENOVATION ACTIVITIES THAT OCCUR ON OR REQUIRE THE USE OF SUCH PLAYGROUNDS FOR A DURATION OF NO MORE THAN ONE YEAR. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law; provided however, that the commissioner of education is authorized and directed to promulgate any rules or regu- lations necessary for the timely implementation of this act on or before such date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00128-02-3