After weeks of negotiating and attempting to secure a solid plan, the state legislature did not come up with a deal for mayoral control of New York City schools before Wednesday’s end to the legislative session. So much anticipation roamed the halls of the Assembly and Senate chambers, but partisanship still stood in the way of Mayor de Blasio’s initiative. This issue has been going on for years now, as Mayor de Blasio has fought the state in order for him to go about his agenda, something he hoped to accomplish before re-election. Due to the rise of charter schools in New York City, the complicated aspect of this control over the schooling system is why a huge rift has emerged amongst the chambers of the state legislature, and why they couldn’t compromise on a deal. The Republicans advocated for more charter schools in the city, and in return would extend de Blasio’s mayoral control. But the Democrats would not budge.
The campaign to get this legislation through has been no easy task. From speaking to state legislators one-on-one to holding rallies in the city with City Council members and union representatives, de Blasio was ambitious in empowering the mayor’s office to protect its control over the education system in the city. This problem can be categorized as whether or not the state legislatures, Democrats specifically, should continue to put so much influence into the de Blasio administration and vice versa.
The overarching fear in all of this was Governor Cuomo’s position on the issue. The governor proposed a three-year extension, while the Assembly and the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference pushed for two. Republican Senator John Flanagan, the Senate Majority Leader, stayed on course to commit to giving mayoral control to de Blasio with his own agenda in sight. This central issue became more partisan than usual, as deals were cut late into last night to finalize the remaining items of the legislative session. But legislators left Albany last night with each chamber having passed its own separate bill for mayoral control, and no final deal in sight. This has left the city to set up a board of education administrators to take charge. The historical implications of this halt will result in the possible permanent end of Mayor de Blasio’s control of the city schools.