The New York State Senate last week passed S.6688, a bill that would allow the City Dept. of Education to close schools on days where a considerable portion of students are likely to be absent because of a cultural or religious holiday.
The Assembly Companion Bill A.7756, sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), passed on Feb. 3.
The bill was inspired by State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Assemblyman Kim’s work with community groups and school leaders in Flushing, Queens. As the bill states, 23 percent of the 2.2 million residents in Queens County are Asian. In Flushing, that percentage jumps to 57 percent.
Stavisky and Kim quickly saw the importance of closing schools on holidays such as Lunar New Year to respect the traditions of Asian culture, but also as a cost-saving measure for schools who otherwise would be wasting resources staying open when a significant portion of the school population is absent.