Council panel votes to close school leasing loophole

A City Council panel voted Thursday to close a loophole allowing the city's Department of Education to lease school space without having public hearings.
Council members heard from community groups that testified the process to lease future school property sites should be the same as the process to purchase school property. Currently, hearings are not required for the DOE to lease buildings for educational use. However, hearings must be held when the DOE wants to buy a property.
An organization testified that the loophole allowed for the construction of the Soundview Educational Campus on a toxic site. They claimed children are not allowed to play outside because the area poses a health risk.
The measure will go before the City Council for a vote. If passed, it will head to the state Legislature.