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Cuomo wants lawmakers back in Albany to tackle mayoral school control

Chancellor of the New York City Department of

Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Carmen Fariña, left, and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a ceremony for pre-K students at P.S. 10 School of Journeys in Brooklyn on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that he would reconvene the State Legislature in Albany to renew a soon-to-expire law that gives New York City’s mayor control of the city school system.

Speaking to reporters in Albany, Cuomo criticized Legislative leaders for adjourning this year’s legislative session late Wednesday night without voting on an extension to the mayoral control law that is set to expire on June 30.

Without the extension, governance of New York City schools will return to a previously scandal-plagued system run by a citywide board of education and 32 neighborhood school boards.

“I believe there has been a dereliction of duty,” Cuomo said of lawmakers. “Now you put in a corrupt system. They should come back as soon as possible and fix it. But they have to have an agreement.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a morning radio interview, said he was “deeply concerned,” that lawmakers had not renewed the measure, but also hopeful the legislature would reconvene to approve an extension to the law that has been in place since 2002.

“Today I have an open mind — hoping that Albany will come back quickly and finish the work which was moving along well yesterday, but if we get to June 30 and Albany hasn’t acted, we’re entering a whole new world,” de Blasio said.

Unlike former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was granted several multiyear extensions to the law, De Blasio faced an uphill climb this year getting an extension approved as state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) sought to tie the extension to an expansion of charter schools in the city — a move opposed by state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

Heastie, in a statement Thursday said the Assembly would “consider” returning to Albany if Cuomo or Senate leaders asked the chamber “to engage.” Flanagan on Wednesday night also signaled his willingness to return to Albany to revisit the issue before the law lapses.


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