2016-06-29 / Front Page

Mayoral Control Over Public Schools Extended One Year

By Richard Gentilviso

With time running out, mayoral control of New York City’s public schools was extended for one year, through June 30, 2017, by the State Legislature.
A one-year extension granted in 2015 was to expire this year on June 30th, prompting Mayor de Blasio to initially ask for seven years and then three years.
“Over the past 14 years, mayoral control accountability has been shown to bring real progress for our children,” de Blasio said on May 2nd in a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, asking for their support.
The Senate Education Committee held the first of two public hearings on mayoral control on May 4th in Albany, where Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña answered questions for over four hours; but on May 5th Senate Majority Leader Flanagan said he was not ready to renew any authorization of mayoral control.
The State Assembly passed a bill extending mayoral control for three years on May 17th but Mayor de Blasio was not present at the second scheduled public hearing held on May 19th by the Senate Education Committee in New York City that was attended by Chancellor Fariña.
The State Senate subsequently introduced legislation for a one-year extension on June 4th that was amended to include a requirement for school-by-school budget data to be provided by the City. This was ultimately the bill extending mayoral control that was passed by the State Legislature on June 17th.
First enacted under Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002, mayoral control was renewed for six years in 2009. If no agreement on mayoral control had been reached by June 30th, more than 1,800 public schools and 1.1 million students would have reverted back to the former system of local community school boards and a central Board of Education.
Under mayoral control, a 13-member citywide Panel for Educational Policy, of which the mayor appoints eight members and the borough presidents appoint five, governs public schools, along with the Chancellor.
Critical of the one-year extension, de Blasio nonetheless expressed optimism on June 20th saying, “Mayoral control was renewed, it was voted on by the Legislature originally and now renewed three times. It seems that’s a pretty consistent pattern now, that says ultimately all the different forces in Albany understand (that mayoral control) works and they have to continue it.”

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