What to say when you call a Council Member
Thanks for helping us to enlist additional City Council Members as co-sponsors of Bill No. 420!
Calling members of the City Council is easier than you might think and is a simple way to help us ensure that our kids have a safe learning environment.
Here's a quick outline of what to do:
1. Call a Council Member (see below for list of names and numbers.)
2. Ask to speak to the Legislative Director.
(About half the time this is the person already on the phone!)
3. Introduce yourself as a parent at PS 163.
4. Let them know that you support "Intro Bill 420" which is designed to protect all New York City school children from the hazards of noisy construction.
(If you want, you could even end the call here... or you could also mention:)
"Although current state law restricts noise levels when the DOE does construction at a school site, there is no such protection when construction takes place by private contractors next door to a school. Bill 420 will require that the noise levels for construction within 75 feet of a school doesn't exceed 45 decibels, the maximum noise level that state and national guidelines say should be allowed in schools."
5. Feel free to personalize your statement, add more details or less. Feel free to say exactly what is written above in 4, follow this more detailed script of what you could say (feel free to pick and choose or add your own words):
"Is Council Member X aware that the NYC City Council is considering Bill No. 420, which is designed to protect all New York City school children from the hazards of noisy construction? Right now, NYC schools have no protection from the noise (as well as heavy vehicles, toxins and danger) from adjacent construction.
A state law restricts noise levels when the DOE's own School Construction Authority works inside a school. Why are outside contractors exempt?
Construction at other public schools has forced some of them to re-locate. P.S. 51 in Manhattan is an example. Others have been forced to endure the prolonged noise, dust and traffic that can harm children and interferes with their learning.
Now our school, PS 163, an elementary school serving 600+ children on the Upper West Side, faces construction of a loud and dangerous 20+story tower next door. You constituents could easily find themselves in our position some day, too.
Bill No. 420 before the City Council would require all construction projects within 75 feet of schools to limit noise generated during school hours to 45 decibels. The threshold of 45 decibels is the maximum noise level that the state environmental law says should be permitted in schools.
Experts, including Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Children Environmental Health Unit, report that noise levels in schools for all children should remain at or below 45 decibels; this recommendation is particularly emphatic regarding students with disabilities.
Yet noise levels of 70+ decibels –– often recorded at construction sites –– are all too common and all too often make classwork impossible. Further, such noise levels have been shown to have not only short term, but also long-term consequences on children’s health and their ability to learn.
We’re worried. And so we’re asking Council Member X to co-sponsor Bill 420 and ensure its passage this year.
I can send you more documentation and a link to the website of the parent task force that is working on this issue.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and for being an advocate for all of New York City school children!"
6. If you have time, follow up with an email with this link: http://www.ps163taskforce.org/bill-no-420-initiative.html
7. Call back each week until you get results!
8. Report your efforts to firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: The following is a list of Council Members on the education committee who haven't yet co-sponsored (probably because they haven't yet heard about the bill!).
And of course our own Council Member, Mark Levine, who supported us by introducing the bill in the first place. Call his office to thank him for his leadership and ask him what he is doing now to ensure his colleagues co-sponsor Bill 420 and get the bill passed into law!