Councilman wants trash pickup equity for all schools

February 8, 2012 5:14:39 AM PST
There is a push under way to get New York City sanitation to pick up trash at private schools as often as for public schools.

The problem is especially bad in Borough Park.

Councilman David Greenfield has introduced legislation to bring equity to school trash collection. He says school leaders need to focus on teaching and not trash.

On a typical Friday morning in Borough Park, students are hurrying to get to class on time. The sidewalks outside PS 131 are clear, but at Yeshiva schools just around the corner, piles trash bags litter the curb.

Trash is picked up at public schools every day. At non-public schools, it's picked up just twice a week. So the bags can sit outside for days.

Greenfield wants that to change.

"Equity, parity, fairness, let them simply pick up the garbage the same amount of times for public schools as for private schools," he said. "It's really quite simple. We're talking about Jewish schools, Catholic schools, non-public schools. I think everybody should be entitled to the same basic services. Everyone pays the same taxes."

Borough Park has the highest number of non-public schools in the city, with more than 100. And many are right next door to private homes, so the mountains of garbage hurt the entire neighborhood. A Yeshiva on 42nd Street has 400 students.

"Bags get ripped, and now it's the winter, it's not so bad," said Rabbi David Vogel, of Yeshiva Beth Hillel D'Kresna. "But when it comes around to summer, you can see how the bags get ripped up, animals come, the cats, dogs, they all start coming out...It's a disaster to see. For three days, there's so much garbage out on the street."

The Department of Sanitation says that private schools have garbage pickup on whatever schedule their neighborhood is on. About 10 years ago, some of the larger Yeshivas worked out a deal with the city to have garbage picked up every day. Greenfield wants that to cover all non-public schools.

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