Oct. 28, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Robert Holden is calling on the city to make good on its promise to offer free daycare to working parents on days their children attend school remotely.
Holden penned a letter to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza last week, calling on the Department of Education (DOE) to expand the child care program to more schools within his 30th Council district.
He said his office has received complaints from parents who don’t have access to the program known as “Learning Bridges,” which offers free daycare for public school children in 3-K through eighth grade on their remote learning days.
“The communities I represent are filled with essential workers and first-responders who worked hard during this pandemic…” Holden wrote in the Oct. 20 letter. “I find it inconceivable that so many families in my district seemingly have no access to such a critical program like Learning Bridges.”
The Council Member listed six public schools in his district — which covers Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Woodside and Ridgewood — where parents don’t have access to the program. Many are in School District 24, he noted.
Learning Bridges offers daycare sites on a school-by-school basis in order to isolate different school populations from one another to prevent COVID-19 spread. Each school or early childhood program is paired with a Learning Bridges site operated by a community-based organization.
The program had 30,000 seats available when school started in September. Mayor Bill de Blasio estimated last month that there would be 70,000 seats by the end of October and 100,000 seats in December.
The schools without the Learning Bridges program in Holden’s district include:
P.S./I.S. 113 Anthony J. Pranzo School, located at 78-23 87th St. in Glendale
P.S. 58 The School of Heroes, located at 72-24 Grand Ave. in Maspeth
P.S. 153 Maspeth Elementary School, located at 60-02 60th Ln. in Maspeth
I.S. 73 The Frank Sansivieri Intermediate School, located at 0-02 54th Ave. in Maspeth
P.S. 49 Dorothy Bonawit Kole, located at 63-60 80th St. in Middle Village
P.S. 128 The Lorraine Tuzzo, Juniper Valley Elementary School, located at 69-10 65th Dr. in Middle Village
P.S. 229 Emanuel Kaplan, located at 67-25 51st Rd in Woodside
P.S. 290 A.C.E. Academy for Scholars at the Geraldine Ferraro Campus, located at 55-20 Metropolitan Ave. in Ridgewood
Holden suggested using the annex at P.S. 128, which is not currently being used as a site for Learning Bridges. He added that the local nonprofit The Greater Ridgewood Youth Council offered to operate a childcare program at the annex.
Holden’s Chief of Staff said the Council Member’s office has yet to receive a response from Carranza or the DOE.
However at a Community Education Council District 24 meeting Tuesday night, the DOE said it is working on Holden’s suggestions, he added.