Lawmakers OK 2-Year Extension Of Mayoral Control Of NYC Schools

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York lawmakers have approved a two-year extension of mayoral control of schools in New York City and voted to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge as a tribute to the former leader who died in 2015.

The Senate passed the legislation Thursday afternoon, about 12 hours after the Assembly.

The measure now goes to Mario Cuomo’s son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign it into law.

The bill also extends local sales taxes, offers aid to upstate New Yorkers impacted by recent floods and reduces the state’s take from a struggling upstate race track casino.

Passage of the measure ends the special session called by the governor after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on mayoral control of schools in New York City.

The 15-year-old policy was set to expire Friday.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, de Blasio thanked Cuomo and state lawmakers and said mayoral control was supported by business, labor and faith leaders, among others.

“Albany chose equity and excellence over chaos and corruption,” de Blasio said. “I think the voices of the people mattered a lot here; the voices of leaders of every sector of New York City.”

De Blasio said mayoral control of schools had benefited his own children and will benefit others.

“I’m a parent. My two children, Chiara and Dante, went through the public schools the whole way through their education. They benefited from the changes that came through mayoral control,” he said. “I want for other children want I want for my own. I want them to get the education they deserve.” 

If the policy had expired, control of city schools would have reverted to a single board of education and dozens of community school boards.  The city estimated that could create $1.6 billion in added administrative costs over 10 years.

“Since mayoral control went into affect 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,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “This is the right way to run our schools.”

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, it’s a two-year extension of mayoral control, which Cuomo said will give de Blasio a chance to focus.

“As opposed to running the schools with one eye and then with the other eye worrying about the renewal,” the governor said.

The proposal to name the new span over the Hudson River the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge surfaced only last week as lawmakers sought to end their session.

The elder Cuomo was governor from 1983 to 1994 and died in 2015.

His son pushed to build the new bridge to replace the current, aging Hudson River crossing, formally named the Gov. Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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