Queens elected officials announced Tuesday that the state Senate has passed a bill allowing the city Department of Education to close schools on days when a considerable portion of students are likely to be absent because of a cultural or religious holiday such as Lunar New Year.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn). It was co-sponsored in the Assembly by Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and passed earlier this year.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said that since Lunar New Year is one of the most significant cultural holidays for Asian ethnic groups, most schools end up wasting significant educational resources by remaining open despite a large number of students not in attendance, while Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said: “The passage is a tremendous step forward for equality in our state.”
Kim indicated the bill allows school districts more freedom to accommodate the needs of their students. “It will provide relief to families who often struggle with pulling their kids out of school on important, though not nationally recognized, holidays,” he added. The governor must still sign the bill before it becomes law.