New York State Assembly for the Second Year in a Row Passes O’Donnell Bill to Protect NYC Public Schools

Today, for the second year in a row, the NYS Assembly passed Assembly Member O’Donnell’s bill A6058a. This bill would help to protect New York City school properties and prevent rampant development without input by the affected communities and families. It would do so by requiring the City Department of Education (DOE) to comply with the Universal Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and to consult with the relevant Community Education Council before any city school property could be transferred or sold. Assembly Member O’Donnell introduced this bill last year in response to a DOE proposal to sell and demolish one of three schools and replace it with a for-profit apartment building with space for the schools on the ground or basement levels. After the bill was passed, O’Donnell said:

I want to thank my Assembly colleagues for supporting this important bill again today. I introduced this bill last year in response to a DOE proposal to sell and demolish one of three schools, two of which were in the Upper West Side’s School District 3 which I represent. Sadly, these two schools, PS 191 and PS 199, were spared only because the third school was chosen – the High School of Cooperative Technical Education on the Upper East Side, which offers specialized trade and technical programs to over-aged high school students.

Our children and schools deserve to be prioritized over developers’ desire for more of New York City’s valuable space, and this bill sends that message. It will give parents and other community members a real voice in these vital decisions about their children, and send a message that in New York we put our kids first – especially before big business. I encourage my Senate colleagues to send the same message soon, before the proposal is moved forward at Co-op Tech.

O’Donnell is the only Manhattan member of the Assembly Education Committee.