Golden Remarks Jump Starts Senate Debate over Mayoral Control of Schools

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Bay Ridge Sen. Marty Golden, today, announced his support for renewal of mayoral control, but walked back a Tweet his staff posted saying he supports it for three years.

“He (Golden) supports renewing mayoral control. The three year Tweet was a staff misunderstanding. Negotiations continue,” wrote Golden Spokesperson John Quaglione in an email.

State Sen. Marty Golden
State Sen. Marty Golden

The Tweet came after Golden issued a press release saying he supported renewal of mayoral control and offered rare bipartisan praise of Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s work at the helm of the city’s schools, although in conjunction of also praising his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.

“Working with former Mayor Bloomberg and now Mayor Bill de Blasio, mayoral control has allowed me the necessary access to the Mayor and Chancellor on behalf of my schools and my students.  We have made achievements under this system that include building school extensions, challenging wrongful attempts at co-location , and developing a Universal Pre-Kindergarten program that works for our families,” said Golden in expressing support for mayoral control.

“Undoubtedly, Mayoral control has proven to work better and has made our schools more efficient.  Dropout rates have declined, graduation rates are on the rise, our schools are safer, and test scores have improved.  The intent of changing to a system of Mayoral control was to improve our schools and the progress makes the case for renewal.”

Golden’s comments came just three days after the Assembly passed a measure granting mayoral control of the DOE for three more years with the feeling the senate would agree to this as a compromise. The vote was necessary because mayoral control over the city’s schools is due to sunset next month.

But one senate political source said it would be “political suicide” for senate Republicans to give de Blasio three years of control over the city’s schools, especially after the mayor put two full-time staffers and led a huge money-raising operation to defeat the Republican senate majority in the last election.

“If they give him three years carte blanche it doesn’t make sense politically, because 2016 is a presidential year and it’s going to be harder for Republicans in general during a presidential election year,” the source said.

The source noted that de Blasio was vociferously opposed to mayoral control under Bloomberg and that a lot more research has to be done into other types of municipal control over the city’s schools in combination with mayoral control might be better utilized.

Sen. Simcha Felder
Sen. Simcha Felder

Among the key senators with input on the issue is Borough Park Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans and is chair of the Subcommittee on New York City Education.

A source close to Felder said he is leaning against granting mayoral control for three years, and the issue probably will not be resolved until the final week of Albany’s legislative session.

The session is due to end June 17.

 

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