The State Assembly votes to renew mayoral control of New York City public schools for two years. The bill is now headed to the State Senate
The vote took place early Thursday morning in Albany during a special session called by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The senate has until Friday to approve the legislation before it expires on Friday.
“The Mayor's dictatorial control over New York City's school has been a damaging failure! An overwhelming majority of our children upon graduation are not prepared for college or a career and because of poor reading and writing skills, must take remedial courses to attend CUNY colleges,” said Assemblyman Charles Barron.
The Brooklyn politician is referring to Cuomo’s special session he called to introduce a bill to extend mayoral control for New York City public schools for one year. Lawmakers are currently on summer vacation but were called back.
"The Governor is calling an extraordinary legislative session for Wednesday, June 28 to take up the issue of Mayoral Control,” Lt. The Governor has discussed the extraordinary session with the legislative leaders."
Reports indicate that loss of mayoral control could cost the city 1.5 billion dollars over 10 years and take control of public schools away from Mayor Bill de Blasio and into the hands of 32 district boards. The policy was set to expire on June 30.
“This is not about children, it's about contracts,” Barron said. “The 2018 D.O.E. Budget is an astounding $24.3 billion, with a $6.6 billion contracting budget for 5,660 contracts. Some folks are getting rich at the expense of our failing children. I say end mayoral Control now! New York City is the only school system in the State that has Mayoral Control. All other school systems in the State have community and parents involved in decision making school boards.”
The practice of mayoral control of public schools in New York City dates back to 2002 when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The practice has been criticized of not allowing the community have a stake in public education.
“Mayoral control of education is something where there’s a broad consensus it’s the only system that actually works to run our schools,” de Blasio said during a radio interview on the day of the vote.. “No one I know, not even the Senate Republicans disagree with the concept of mayoral control… This is the right way to run our schools.”
He also touted the positive impacts that mayoral control has done.
“Since mayoral control went into effect 15 years ago our graduation rate has increased almost 50 percent, test scores have gone up, violence and crime in schools have gone steadily down.” he said. “This is because someone is held responsible.”