From the NY Post:
The city plans to spend up to $14.5 million a year to have school custodians simply lock and unlock schoolyard gates.
As part of a PlaNYC initiative to give the public access to 290 schoolyards and give kids more open space by 2030, custodians get an extra $50,000 per school to cover annual expenses of opening the gates at 8 a.m. and closing them at dusk seven days a week.
While park advocates are happy the city is opening the playgrounds -- the City Council reported in 2006 that 81 percent of yards were locked after school hours, relegating 1,170 acres of public land inaccessible -- they bristle at the $50,000 price tag.
"It makes no sense," said Geoffrey Croft, president of watchdog group New York City Park Advocates. "The custodians are already there during the school week, and they have to clean the schoolyard regardless. So they're really just getting paid to open and close the gates."
Croft pointed to the 269 already existing "joint operated playgrounds," or schoolyards opened on weekends by Parks Department employees.
"Why can't they do it that way?" he asked. "If you need more staff, take the $50,000 and hire employees who can open several gates."