Holden urges Mayor Adams and DOE to fully utilize school facilities for after-school programs

Screenshot 2023-12-22 at 2.45.57 PM
Council Member Robert Holden is chairperson of the council’s Committee on Veterans.
Photo by John McCarten/ NYC Council

Council Member Robert Holden, co-signed by 36 of his council colleagues, penned a letter to Mayor Eric Adams last week calling on the Department of Education to open up its school facilities for after-school and recreational purposes.

The letter, sent Feb. 20, calls on Adams and New York City Department of Education Chancellor David Banks to open school facilities for after-school and recreational programs for children to help revitalize communities and the city’s youth, especially after the mental and physical toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We believe that the city has a responsibility to address this loss and provide opportunities for our children and parents to reconnect, engage in physical activities, and enjoy community spaces safely,” the letter reads.

Furthermore, the letter outlines the New York City Rules and Regulations Title 24 – Health Code §45:11(h) which is meant to highlight the city’s commitment to ensuring children have indoor and outdoor play areas. The letter notes that the state provides incentives, such as grants, for the city to utilize school buildings for after-school activities, and the influx of funds would increase the DOE’s budget.

The letter notes that the city recognizes and supports the notion of opening school facilities for such use but has yet to take action.

“We have heard you voice support for this idea on multiple occasions, acknowledging its potential benefits for the community,” the letter says. “Now, we ask you to transition words into action. By exploring the feasibility of opening our school facilities for afterschool and recreational use, we can take a significant step towards revitalizing our community, supporting our families, and fostering the development of our city’s youth.”