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Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:30 am

Parents at PS/IS 78 try to retain school hours with petition

Disappointed that their children’s school day is set to begin at 8 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. next year, instead of the former 8:40 a.m. and 3 p.m., parents at PS/IS 78 in Long Island City have started an online petition asking the administration and staff to retain the old start time.

Saying that they “applaud and admire the amazing and wonderful education and care that you provide for our children every day,” the parents say they are “deeply saddened” the decision was made without their being consulted, and that it will take away from valuable family time. They also say it will cost working parents more for after-school care and activities, and note that “interesting research” says earlier start times can have a detrimental effect on elementary and middle school children.

The change is a result of the new contract reached between the city and the United Federation of Teachers. Many parents across the city have voiced similar complaints about changes to school hours.

The parents’ petition says that “on a weekly basis these 3 hours and 20 minutes matter tremendously to our families,” and asks that the start time go back to 8:40 or that a compromise beginninng of 8:30 be implemented.

Cuomo slips a little in polling, but not much

Democratic Gov. Cuomo has a 32-point lead over Republican rival Rob Astorino in the race for governor, according to a Siena College survey of likely voters released Monday, a small drop from the 37-point edge he had in the school’s last poll.

The pollsters focused on the impact U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation into Cuomo’s actions regarding the anti-corruption Moreland Commission in reporting the results. They found that most voters are not familiar with the panel, which Cuomo instituted but then, according to press reports, stymied when it came to investigating those close to him.

“Voters say corruption in state government is a serious problem, yet, two-thirds are unfamiliar with the Moreland Commission or its work and nearly two-thirds say they’ve heard little or nothing about Bharara’s investigation,” the survey reported.

“Albany insiders and political junkies are certainly talking lots about Moreland, Bharara, investigations, and the like, but most New York voters are spending their summer not following any of that news,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.

The survey can be found at siena.edu.

Den Dekker fire safety bill is signed into law

Gov. Cuomo has signed a law written by Assemblyman Michael Den Dekker (D-Jackson Heights) requiring that all new leases contain written, bolded notice to tenants whether or not a residential building is equipped with fire sprinklers, the lawmaker announced Monday.

“It is critically important that leaseholders know whether or not their homes are equipped with sprinkler systems so they are fully prepared to deal with any fire emergencies that may happen,” Den Dekker said in a prepared statement. “I want thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation and helping to protect the safety of all New Yorkers, and also give a special thanks to the Kerry Rose Foundation for their work advocating for fire safety.”

Kerry Rose Fitzsimons was a Marist College student who died along with two other students in a 2012 fire in an off-campus housing unit. Her family started the foundation to educate students about fire prevention and safety.

Summer photo contest!

The Queens Chronicle’s Sixth Annual Summer in the Borough Photo Contest is underway — and we’re waiting for your entry to arrive! Find the rules online at bit.ly/1pV4sLs.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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