New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan today announced the passage of legislation to extend mayoral control of New York City public schools for three years (A.7508-A, Nolan).
"We all value the importance of education and its critical role in shaping our students' future," said Speaker Heastie. "It is our responsibility to give them every opportunity to succeed and Mayor de Blasio has shown himself to be a committed and enthusiastic steward of that mission. The Assembly Majority Conference supports his vision for positive changes that will strengthen both our students and the greater public education system in the City of New York."
The legislation passed today would extend for an additional three years, until June 30, 2019, the centralized governance structure of New York City public schools that was first authorized in 2002 under the administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mayoral control includes oversight of the approximately $27 billion budget and program direction across 1,600 schools. Additionally, the bill would continue the mayor's authority to appoint the chancellor of schools and eight of the 13 members presiding on the city's Panel for Educational Policy, which has among its duties, establishing education policies for the city's schools, oversight of co-location and plans for school closings and the review and approval of education contracts. In accordance with existing law, the remaining five panel members, all of which are required to be parents of New York City public school students, are selected by the borough presidents of the City of New York.
Mayoral control under Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina has been successful in increasing transparency and accountability while fostering greater parental input and community involvement in relation to the management and operation of New York City's schools. This collaborative approach has yielded an increase in on-time graduation rates and improved student performance on state exams. Experts agree that stability is a very important factor in measuring achievement over time and mayoral control provides a stable foundation against which educators and legislators can more accurately assess the strengths and weakness of the public education system.
"In passing this bill today, the Assembly Majority has underlined its commitment to creating solutions not instability for our students," said Assemblymember Cathy Nolan. "Achievement requires hard work, partnership and creative, needs-based problem-solving which both Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina have demonstrated in their leadership. Over the last two years, the City of New York has undertaken several new initiatives like the expansion of citywide full-day pre-kindergarten and implementation of the holistic community schools model that are progressive steps to put our students on the achievement track from their earliest days in the classroom. We believe that the needs of students across the city would be best served by renewing the mayor's authorization to continue building on these commendable steps in the right direction."