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Senate, Assembly jockey over mayoral control of NYC schools

ALBANY _ The Republican-led Senate on Monday dug in against continued control of New York City schools under Mayor Bill de Blasio. Hours later, the Democrat-led Assembly, which is allied with de Blasio, linked tax extensions sought by Senate Republicans to continued mayoral control of schools.

The power plays set up the key late-session clash between the chambers that could prompt trading for a big deal involving disparate issues.

On Monday, the Senate’s Republican majority that has clashed repeatedly with the Democratic mayor sent a letter to City Hall requiring several reports on the performance of schools under de Blasio. The Senate GOP said it needs the data before it agrees to any continued mayoral control. The Senate demanded a building-by-building breakdown of local, state and federal funding to city schools among other data.

“Only once we have received this information will it allow a transparent and careful consideration of the equitable or inequitable distribution of funding,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) in the letter. “A fundamental shortcoming of this (de Blasio) administration has been a lack of transparency.”

Eric Phillips, the mayor’s spokesman, said Flanagan already received the information.

“It’s time for the Senate Republicans to stop playing games and let the city get on with the work of educating our 1.1 million kids,” Carter said.

Later on Monday the Assembly’s Democratic majority passed a single bill that would continue mayoral control in New York City for two years as well as extend various taxes due to expire soon including sales taxes, hotel taxes and mortgage taxes. Many upstate and Long Island communities where Senate Republicans dominate depend on revenue from the taxes.

“These extensions are critical to every community across New York State,” said Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). “Cities and counties rely on these taxes to continue operating, and New York City schools need the continuity and predictability that mayoral control offers.”

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