New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan today announced the passage of a bill extending mayoral control of New York City public schools for three years (A.7508, Nolan).
"Education is the gateway to a better future for our children and our state. Representing the Bronx, I have seen firsthand many of the challenges and the successes of our current education system," said Speaker Heastie. "Mayor de Blasio stands by his commitment to New York City's school children. He has expressed his desire to implement positive changes and we have agreed to work with him to improve schools throughout the city."
The legislation continues the organizational provisions of mayoral control, which has governed New York City schools since 2002 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Under the bill, the mayor would be authorized to appoint the schools chancellor and to appoint eight of 13 members on the city's Panel for Educational Policy, which approves co-location plans, school closures, and contracts. The remaining five members, who must be parents of public school children, are appointed by each of the five borough presidents.
The mayor also oversees the system's approximately $21.5 billion operating budget and is responsible for putting forward strategies to lift student achievement across 1,600 district schools.
Mayoral control has fostered greater parental participation and input, transparency, and accountability in relation to the management and operation of New York City schools. Since mayoral control took effect, on-time graduation rates have risen to the highest point in a decade, dropout rates have fallen and the percentage of students considered proficient in English and math on state tests is now close to the statewide average.
"This legislation continues the Assembly's support for mayoral control for New York City," said Nolan. "Though still controversial, mayoral control has provided clearer accountability than community school boards, allowed for citywide innovation, particularly under Chancellor Carmen Farina's leadership, and required that the city provide for adequate funding for students. In the previous renewal, the Assembly strengthened the role of the community superintendents, increased the roles of parent leaders and councils, and provided more fiscal oversight. With the successful expansion of citywide full day pre-K for four year olds as well as other accomplishments, Mayor de Blasio has shown leadership in providing an equitable and quality education for New York City's children. As the parent of a public school student I support continued mayoral control of NYC schools."