The city’s two newly minted leaders want to give kids yet another school holiday — this time for the Lunar New Year.
After endorsing a plan to shut schools for two Muslim holidays, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa said the Asian holiday should also be honored with the day off.
But the hit to taxpayers would be in the millions of dollars for each day, since school personnel would still have to be paid.
Officials would also have to scramble to rejigger the school calendar to meet minimum state attendance requirements.
“We live in a city as diverse as New York, where our families and cultures represented here, need to be respected,” Mark-Viverito said Friday as she joined local and state politicians at a Queens rally to push for the extra holiday.
Advocates say it’s only fair to include the lunar holiday since Asian-American students comprise about 15 percent of the city’s public-school population.
“The way we build understanding is by really respecting culture,” Mark-Viverito said. “The population of Asian-American children needs to be recognized. So we will be doing [a] resolution in support of a call for a holiday.”
The Lunar New Year — traditionally marked with parades, fireworks, sweet rice cakes, pink peach flowers and dragon dancing — is the biggest holiday on the calendar for many East Asians.
It falls on a different day every year, since it follows the lunar calendar. This year, it falls on Jan. 31.
There are 14 official school holidays as of now.
If the Lunar New Year and the Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are added, the number would jump to 17.
The city has the power to add school holidays on its own, without the approval of Albany.
The shutdowns would impact 1.1 million students, their parents and 135,000 school employees.
The state mandates at least 180 days of classes per academic year. The city schedules 182 or 183, depending on the year, leaving not much leeway.
The mayor has conceded adding holidays while meeting the requirement would take some doing.
“This will take time and effort to get this right,” he said earlier this month, noting there were “logistical dynamics, the state law dynamics and budgetary dynamics.”
But, he promised, “We’re going to find a way to get there . . . I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Also pressing for the Lunar New Year to be recognized were City Council members Paul Vallone and Peter Koo, Rep. Grace Meng, Assemblymen Ron Kim and Ed Braunstein and state Sens. Dan Squadron and Toby Anne Stavisky.
Bills have been introduced at the city, state and federal level to recognize the day as an official holiday.
See full article at New York Post.