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Local Leaders: Mayor De Blasio Should Have Delayed Or Canceled School On Monday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City schools will be open for classes as usual Monday, but some lawmakers and other officials called said schools should be closed or delayed given the conditions after the weekend blizzard.

Mayor de Blasio said Sunday morning that city public schools will be open as usual on Monday. He urged teachers to find a way to get into work on Monday morning.

"It's very tough. I'm not going to lie. Again, it's one of the worst snowstorms in our history. There's a lot of snow all over the place," he said. "What I say to our teachers is you can use mass transit. You can carpool. I would really strongly suggest you use one of those alternatives. Obviously, parents – many, many parents – are going to work tomorrow. They don't have a choice about that. So it's really important that we get school up and running tomorrow."

But speaking to 1010 WINS, city Public Advocate Letitia James said in the interest of safety, the start of the school day should be delayed.

"Mayor de Blasio and (schools Chancellor) Carmen Fariña should delay the start of New York City schools tomorrow so that we can ensure that educators and students who are rushing to work – particularly at the school – we're not putting them in any danger," she said.

James noted that many streets around the five boroughs have not been plowed.

"This is the second largest snowstorm in the history of New York City, and we really should be focusing on safety, and some of the streets – again, the secondary and tertiary streets – have not been plowed," she said.

Speaking to WCBS 880, James said she thought schools should remain open, but should start at a later hour, and "children and administrators who arrive late should be given some forgiveness or pass."

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Meanwhile, Queens City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-32nd) took direct issue with Mayor de Blasio for choosing to open the schools.

"I'm very disappointed in the mayor's decision to keep the schools open, especially considering the treacherous conditions that so many of the roads are still in, and also based upon the fact that the city has closed schools with half the amount of snow and on much shorter notice," he told WCBS 880.

Ulrich said since schools are under mayoral control, there is nothing he or his fellow councilmembers can do. But he said attendance will be "abysmal."

"It's going to be a tremendous waste of taxpayers' money, and we're going to be putting people at risk," he said. "The last thing we should be doing is putting people in harm's way."

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) also said the mayor should have kept the schools closed on Monday.

Residents of parts of Queens, as well as the Bronx and Staten Island, complained Sunday that their streets were not adequately plowed and they were unable to get around.

Officials say the 26.8 inches of snow that fell in Central Park on Saturday is the second-most recorded since 1869. There were 31.3 inches on Staten Island, and 30.5 inches at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

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