ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York state Assembly has voted to renew mayoral control over city schools, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said he does not want to deal with a state Senate that is fighting him on the issue.
The bill passed by the Assembly on Tuesday would renew mayoral control three more years, through June 2019. Mayor de Blasio previously wanted the policy, first implemented in 2002, renewed for seven years but lawmakers say they’re wary of such a long extension. De Blasio has now downsized his request to the Senate to three years.
Btu state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) has criticized de Blasio for not knowing enough about his city’s schools. The Senate has invited the mayor to make his case at a hearing on Thursday in the city, but the mayor said he won’t be going.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday that he will boycott the hearing. He walked into the Blue Room at City Hall, resolute in his determination not to be bullied by the state Senate on the issue of mayoral control.
“The old system simply failed. It failed our children,” de Blasio said. “It was rife with corruption.”
After testifying for four hours in Albany already, the mayor decided to boycott the Tuesday hearing. Instead, he released a letter sent from more than 100 members of the Partnership for New York City to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Senate leaders, demanding an extension.
“Members of the partnership employ more than 1 million people, and we depend on schools to prepare them,” said Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Global.
But the state Senate is not having it. Flanagan said he is “extremely disappointed the Mayor doesn’t believe the hearing is significant enough to attend.”
And state Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Shrub Oak) said it is all about the five separate corruption probes that focus on Mayor de Blasio and the alleged pay-to-play culture at City Hall. Murphy wants to know if pay-to-play figures into any of the $9 billion of taxpayer dollars in the city school budget.
“I wanted the ability to ask Mayor de Blasio if he as ever accepted or solicited donations from entities that have matters pending before New York City,” Murphy said. “Mayoral control is all about trust, and mayor de Blasio failed miserably to convince me to trust him on our first encounter.”
Kramer asked de Blasio if questions about corruption were why he did not want to go to the hearing, and whether any of Murphy’s questions about pay-to-play were fair.
“No, I’ve said we do everything with very high ethical standards. There’s a lot of transparency,” de Blasio responded.
While the Assembly has voted in favor of the three-year extension, the state Senate has only indicated that it is willing to give de Blasio only one year.
The school policy will expire June 30 unless lawmakers vote to extend it.
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