Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill extending Mayor Eric Adams’ control of city public schools for the next two years late Thursday night, just as the previous extension expired at midnight.
In the final bill, Hochul secured a delay for the implementation of new expansions to the Panel for Education Policy (PEP) – an oversight body for the city’s public schools – that Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks were seeking. In a statement, Adams applauded the governor for extending the policy and fighting for some of his main asks in the final deal.
“Mayoral accountability is vitally important to New York City families, students, teachers and the entire school community. I want to thank Governor Hochul for championing on behalf of our students and allowing me and Chancellor Banks to keep the politics out of our schools to provide bold and necessary programs for the betterment of our children,” Adams said.
“We will continue to wage this fight on behalf of our city’s children. The nearly 1 million students and their families deserve an education system free from bureaucracy and one that allots them the certainty they deserve — particularly after the trauma they’ve experienced over the past two years. We will continue to partner with the community to provide historic investments in our education department and change the way we approach learning in New York City,” he added.
The two-year extension of mayoral control falls short of the four years the mayor and governor had initially asked the legislature for.
The bill Hochul signed delayed the expansion of the PEP from 15 to 23 members from the beginning of this coming school year to January 2023. Under the restructuring of the panel, the mayor will get 13 appointments, but four of them have to be parents. Five of the other appointments were given to Community Education Council (CEC) presidents from each borough.
The governor also refused to sign a bill mandating smaller class sizes, which the mayor fiercely opposed, passed by the legislature in conjunction with the extension of mayor control. United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew, however, wasn’t pleased that Hochul chose to leave the class size legislation unsigned. He called on Hochul to sign the bill immediately.
“Last night Gov. Hochul signed the mayoral control bill but not the small class size legislation,” Mulgrew said in a statement. “Smaller class sizes are the No. 1 priority among parents and educators and the reason why the bills received overwhelming support from the state Assembly and Senate. We are calling on the governor to sign this legislation now. Our students can’t wait.”