Joint Statement by Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Steve Otis

We are pleased that the inspection today at the Bruno M. Ponterio Ridge Street School yielded a positive result. Unquestionably the delayed September school opening for in-person learning has been extremely concerning to parents, educators, community members and us. We are encouraged that children can now return to classrooms, engage directly with their teachers and be with their peers in the very near future.

We want to acknowledge and recognize the many parents and community members who spoke out as well as those who reached out to us directly asking for assistance during this time. We heard you and we facilitated the productive working relationship between the State Education Department and the school district with the urgency needed to get to this point today and to ultimately move this building project forward.

We want to thank Commissioner Betty Rosa and the leadership of the State Education Department for their commitment to the students and families of Blind Brook-Rye and their hands-on assistance in resolving this crisis. News of this reopening would not have been possible without their direct assistance. When construction-related building code issues at the school were identified, Commissioner Rosa provided an unprecedented level of guidance, expertise and SED staff support to assist the district in completing needed work and reopening the school as quickly as possible.

We continue to stand ready to engage with all parties to ensure that the health and safety of our students remains paramount throughout this process and that the school reopens as quickly as possible.