Directs the chancellor of the city school district of a city over 1 million to inventory and report on the outdoor schoolyards of such district.
Ayes (9): Flanagan, LaValle, Marcellino, Robach, Addabbo, Avella, Breslin, Serrano, Huntley
Ayes W/R (5): Farley, Maziarz, Saland, Seward, Stavisky
Nays (3): Lanza, Ranzenhofer, Montgomery
Excused (1): Oppenheimer
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to directing the chancellor of a city school district in a city having a population of one million or more to inventory and report upon the outdoor schoolyards within such district
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Requires the Chancellor of the New York City School District to compile an inventory of the outdoor schoolyards in such school district and to prepare a report on Certain aspects of the condition and Use of such playgrounds.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1: Adds a new Education Law section 2556(14) to require the Chancellor of the New York city School District to prepare an inventory and report on the following items related to school district outdoor playgrounds:
- identify each and every outdoor schoolyard located at or associated with schools, their location, approximate size, and physical condition.
- identify which schoolyards are in fact utilized as outdoor schoolyards, the activities conducted, and any limitations on their use as a playground.
- identify areas, while designated or in the past used as schoolyards, that are now not used for physical education, activity or recreation. For example, Some playgrounds have been Used for the placement of Temporary Classroom Units (TCU) on a more or less permanent basis. This situation has lead to less playground space being left available to be used for physical activity.
- a description of whether each playground is used during the school day and after school by students and the general public.
- a description of the capital plans for the construction, placement, renovation, or reconfiguration of such playgrounds, and any plan to increase or decrease the availability and utilization of such places.
- any other facts, information, or recommendations which the Chancellor deems necessary to improve outdoor schoolyards. Such improvements should help to enhance the physical education, physical and mental fitness, and well-being of its students.
Provides for a definition of schoolyards to include all outdoor space used by students for physical education, physical activity, and/or recreation.
A report of the Chancellor's inventory, findings, and recommendations is to be completed by December 31, 2011. Such report is to be
submitted to the Governor, the State Legislature, and the state Education Department.
Section 2: Amend Education Law section 2590-h (Powers and duties of the Chancellor) to include the duty to prepare the Report outlined in section 1 of this bill.
JUSTIFICATION: It is of the utmost importance to the proper development of a child to engage in unstructured play and to have the opportunity for physical education. Such activities can help children to better learn and absorb knowledge throughout the rest of the school day and increase their physical and mental fitness. When children are able to run, hop, skip, and jump around with other kids, they learn important social and emotional skills like empathy, working with others, and complex behaviors like planning and sequencing.
Unfortunately, many children in New York City have little space to play in an outdoor setting. Too many neighborhoods lack adequate playgrounds to serve all children, and many kids live beyond the safe walking distance to parks. That is why outdoor playgrounds at schools are so essential.
For many kids, the school day and school facilities are one of the only opportunities that they have to engage in some fresh air outdoor physical activity. More than just a chance to run around, outdoor play at school has been shown to result in higher reading scores and reduce the high incidence of obesity that exists among many of New York city's youth.
For these reasons, Senator Klein issued a report in 2003 on outdoor playground space at schools. This study found that the New York city Department of Education did not aggressively track the adequacy and size of outdoor playgrounds. Further, many schools lacked sufficient play space, in part because Temporary Classroom Units (TCSs) had been placed on school yard space for years and, in some cases, more than a decade.
Senator Klein issued a second Report in 2008 on the issue of outdoor playground space. Further, Senator Klein has tried to encourage the NYC Department of Education to measure the adequacy of outdoor play space. Senator Klein's staff surveyed over 100 elementary school principals and asked them about their access to fundamental outdoor play space options-schoolyards, playgrounds, a nearby park, athletic fields or a track. Many surveyed schools did not have these outdoor playground options. Many elementary schools lacked multiple options and some did not have any at all. Schools reported that for the outdoor play space options they had, nearly half the time they were insufficient to serve the needs of all the children. There were also complaints about the condition of outdoor play space.
One of the key factors diminishing outdoor play space is TCUS. These supposedly temporary classroom units usually sit on schoolyards, occupying outdoor play space. This report revealed that 24 percent of randomly surveyed elementary schools have TCITs. Additionally, 94 percent of elementary schools that had TCUs 5 years ago, still have
them today. Clearly, the DOE is not on schedule in its attempt to phase down the utilization of TCUB. This is troubling, as school principals were critical of TCUB citing problems with mice, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and students not feeling part of the school.
The Report required under this bill should help the State and New York city to do a better jab in assessing New York City's compliance with state law and monitor efforts to close the existing inequities between schools with regard to outdoor play space.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2008: S.8600 - Referred to Rules 2010: Similar to S.2485-A (Passed Senate, but vetoed) Similar to Chapter Amendment S.2485-A (S.8409)
The same as S.8344, which is a combination of S.2485-A and its Chapter Amendment S.8409.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:; None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately, with provisions.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 587 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, DIAZ, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HUNTLEY, KRUEGER, MONTGOMERY, SAMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when print- ed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to directing the chancel- lor of a city school district in a city having a population of one million or more to inventory and report upon the outdoor schoolyards within such district THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 2556 of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 14 to read as follows: 14. A. THE CHANCELLOR OF A CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN A CITY HAVING A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE SHALL COMPILE AN INVENTORY OF AND ISSUE A WRITTEN REPORT ABOUT THE OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARDS IN THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. SUCH INVENTORY AND REPORT SHALL: (I) IDENTIFY EACH OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD LOCATED AT EDUCATIONAL FACILI- TIES, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION NINE OF SECTION TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED NINETY-A OF THIS TITLE, OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. EACH OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD SHALL BE IDENTIFIED BY THE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN WHICH THE OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD IS LOCATED, ITS ADDRESS, APPROXIMATE SIZE AND PHYSICAL CONDITION; (II) IDENTIFY WHICH OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARDS ARE USED FOR PHYSICAL EDUCA- TION, ACTIVITY AND/OR RECREATION; FOR EACH SUCH OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD, A DESCRIPTION OF HOW OFTEN STUDENTS OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT USE THE OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD, THE ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED, AND ANY LIMITATIONS ON THE USES OF THE SCHOOLYARD; (III) IDENTIFY WHICH OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARDS ARE NOT USED FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION, ACTIVITY OR RECREATION. FOR EACH SUCH SCHOOLYARD, AN EXPLANA- TION OF WHY IT IS NOT BEING USED FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION, PHYSICAL ACTIV- ITY OR RECREATION BY STUDENTS OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04766-01-1 S. 587 2
(IV) WHETHER EACH OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD IS USED AND THE FREQUENCY OF SUCH USE DURING THE SCHOOL DAY AND WHETHER IT IS AVAILABLE FOR USE BY STUDENTS OR THE GENERAL PUBLIC DURING AFTER SCHOOL HOURS; (V) FOR EACH OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD, A DESCRIPTION OF THE CAPITAL PLANS FOR CONSTRUCTION, PLACEMENT, RENOVATION AND/OR RECONFIGURATION THEREOF, AND ANY PLAN TO INCREASE OR DECREASE THE AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION THEREOF; AND (VI) ANY OTHER FACTS, INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH THE CHAN- CELLOR DEEMS NECESSARY TO IMPROVE THE OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARDS OF THE EDUCA- TIONAL FACILITIES OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. SUCH IMPROVEMENTS SHALL BE THOSE THAT ENHANCE THE PHYSICAL EDUCATION, PHYSICAL AND MENTAL FITNESS, AND WELL-BEING OF THE STUDENTS OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. B. ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER THIRTY-FIRST, TWO THOUSAND TWELVE, THE CHAN- CELLOR SHALL SUBMIT THE INVENTORY AND REPORT, COMPILED PURSUANT TO PARA- GRAPH A OF THIS SUBDIVISION, TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY AND THE DEPARTMENT. C. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, "OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARD" MEANS OUTDOOR SPACE WHICH IS LOCATED AT EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES, AND IS USED OR INTENDED TO BE USED BY STUDENTS FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION, PHYSICAL ACTIV- ITY AND/OR RECREATION. S 2. Section 2590-h of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 52 to read as follows: 52. TO COMPILE AN INVENTORY OF AND ISSUE A WRITTEN REPORT ABOUT THE OUTDOOR SCHOOLYARDS IN THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, AS REQUIRED BY SUBDIVI- SION FOURTEEN OF SECTION TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY-SIX OF THIS TITLE. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately, provided that the amend- ments to section 2590-h of the education law, made by section two of this act, shall not affect the expiration of such section and shall expire therewith.