School Activists and Elected Officials Push for Extension of Mayoral Control over Schools

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Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks on June 5 at a rally in favor of the extension of mayor control over public schools. Mayor control is set to expire July 1. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera.

By ALFREDO ALVARADO

Teachers and principals helping students cheat on standardized tests in 18 of 33 school districts and incompetent contractors who took two years to install just four windows at PS 55 in Queens were just two of the examples of the corruption and incompetence that plagued the Dept. of Education prior to the schools being put under mayoral control in 2002.

Mayoral-control supporters fear the DOE could too easily return to those scandal ridden days if legislators in Albany don’t vote to extend mayoral control on this week. The current legislation giving the mayor control of city schools is set to expire on July 1.

Legislators are locking horns over the issue of charter schools. State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan wants lift the cap on charters – a move opposed by de Blasio and other mayoral control supporters, including DC 37.

“The future of our children is hanging in the balance,” Mayor de Blasio said at a City Hall rally on June 19. “We’re not going back to a broken system.”

Mayoral control transferred control of the public schools from a seven member Board of Education to the office of the mayor.

“We stand with Mayor de Blasio and urge Albany to extend mayoral control, it’s the right thing to do for the future of our children,” said Executive Director Henry Garrido.

If mayoral control is not extended, the cost of reconstituting the school boards could be as much as $1.6 billion, the mayor said.

“We would not only have to reconstitute all the school boards, but all the administrative staff, and all the redundancy (and) paralysis costs money,” he added.

DC 37 Blog is an online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal workers in New York City.

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