It looks like the city Department of Education is trying to beat the New York City Housing Authority in the “failing to deal with lead paint” game. Which is more dysfunctional?
Bart Schwartz, the federal monitor overseeing NYCHA, reports that the agency is still failing to inspect and get the lead out of its apartments. NYCHA’s lead inspections are again behind schedule and will miss the deadline to check 134,000 units by year’s end.
More than 100,000 apartments haven’t been inspected, and 55 percent of those that have been turned out to be contaminated. And NYCHA’s failing to test apartments after they’re (supposedly) de-leaded.
Oh, and it’s not just the apartments: 52,000 lead hot spots have turned up in stairwells, halls, community rooms and other common areas in NYCHA buildings.
Schwartz also says NYCHA’s current four-year timetable to get lead-free is too long.
Meanwhile, a Freedom of Information filing by Gothamist and WNYC reveals that the DOE has only managed to complete annual inspections for 12 percent of schools serving young children. It’s inspecting just 16 percent of such schools in Manhattan each year, and only 2 percent in Brooklyn.
A City Hall flack claims it’s just bad DOE record-keeping: “Incomplete database records are not proof that the work did not occur.” How reassuring.
Of course, the school system (like NYCHA) is falling down on countless other fronts — such as special education and basic school safety. Maybe it’s time for a strong federal monitor watching the DOE, too.
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