NY special legislative session to restore mayoral control of NYC schools off to slow start in Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. — A special legislative session called by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resolve a stalemate over control of public education is New York City is off to a slow start.

No members of the Assembly were present in the chamber at 1 p.m. Wednesday, the time the Democratic governor ordered lawmakers to reconvene. Lawmakers were huddled in closed-door meetings instead.

Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, of Syracuse, says he hasn’t heard of any deal to end the stalemate over extending Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control of city schools. The 15-year-old policy expires Friday if lawmakers do nothing.

Lawmakers ended their regular session last week without a deal. Senate Republicans sought to link an extension to help for charter schools. Assembly Democrats balked and tied the renewal to the extension of local sales taxes.

When lawmakers ended their session without discussing mayoral control, de Blasio expressed his disappointment on Brian Lehrer’s radio show.

“The fact that it didn’t get done should worry everyone because it’s the only way to keep our school system moving forward,” he said. “Parents all over the city need to send a very clear message to Albany: get back there and finish the job.”

The loss of mayoral control and reverting to the old school board system would cost the city in excess of 1.5 billion dollars over 10 years.