ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York lawmakers are ready to leave Albany though they haven’t yet agreed to extend Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control of New York City schools.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it’s D-Day int he battle for control of the city’s public schools with the Senate and Assembly are scheduled to wrap up their annual session Wednesday.
De Blasio has a succinct message for state lawmakers — “get it done.”
Top lawmakers from both parties support mayoral control of schools in New York City, a 15-year-old policy that expires June 30 if lawmakers don’t act.
“Mayoral control lapses, then you got 1.1 million kids that have no one in charge and there is no accountability for their education and heir future,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told WCBS 880. “Things like pre-K for example won’t exist consistently across the city anymore if 32 local school boards around the city are making individual decisions for their district, so it’s a really big deal.”
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña says mayoral control is better than reverting to dozens of school boards.
“I think that one of the things we’ve done particularly well is to take politics and patronage out of the education,” Fariña said.
Pre-K students at the School of Journeys in Brooklyn were serenading de Blasio with words the mayor himself could be singing to state lawmakers, who have to make a decision whether or not to extend mayoral control of the schools or send the city education system into chaos.
The mayor was in hyper drive, pulling out all the stops. Team de Blasio brought out Mayor Bloomberg’s former deputy chancellor to talk about how corrupt the old board of education system was.
“In certain districts there was a going rate of $15,000 to the local school board and you could become an assistant principal,” Shael Polakow-Suransky said. “$30,000 for a principal job.”
Good government expert Dick Dadey calls it a “real head-scratcher.”
“Why are not our state lawmakers getting behind the most successful programs that have ever happened in New York City,” Dadey said.
The sticking point is charter schools. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) wants to extend mayoral control tied to an agreement to open more charter schools. He doesn’t think the mayor has been supportive.
“I believe in charter schools,” Flanagan said. “I feel like they treat charter schools as if they’re some type of, you know, the quintessential red-headed stepchild.”
So far Democrats won’t go along.
The mayor says he would welcome the chance to sit down and “chart out a vision of where things are going.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) said he will not budge on increasing the cap allowing more charters.
“We don’t feel that that’s necessary,” Heastie said.
Control of schools would revert to a mosaic of local school districts in the city if the policy expires.
Lawmakers say they could return this summer to try again if they can’t reach a deal this week.
“If they don’t get this done today or worst case by June 30th then all bets are off as to what happens there after,” de Blasio said. “And if you need a history lesson in how dysfunctional albany can become there’s lots of evidence of that.”
As of 7 p.m., officials in Albany said there was no agreement in place. If lawmakers leave without a compromise, the city would be forced to re-constitute the board of education on July 1st.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)