Will mayoral control be stripped to 'save' charters?
Another fight awaits on the issue of charter schools. Cuomo came out strong for charters, in response to pleas from Success Academy head Evan Moskowitz, pledging to “save” them, and the Senate was the first to quantify what that will take: increased tuition rates that would be paid from traditional public schools to charters, a moratorium on charging rent for space, access to facilities funding and the ability to offer pre-K. The proposal would establish the principle that mayoral control of schools in New York City is contingent on the state agreeing with what the mayor does. Which is to say the mayor wouldn't have full control anymore.
Assembly Democrats called the push against mayoral control like it is: an attempt to target de Blasio specifically because of his stance on charters (which is a far cry from his predecessor's). The Assembly would likely only surrender on charters if offered something else in return, such as more money for pre-K or changes to the Common Core rollout.
Unions and advocates describe the push as an attack on traditional public school education. Silver has said that the capital funding that the Senate has proposed to help charters secure facilities would be better used to finance classroom space for New York City students who take classes in trailers because schools are at capacity.
Assembly Higher Education Committee chair Deborah Glick said Cuomo and Senate Republicans didn't try to limit mayoral control when Michael Bloomberg, a charter school proponent, was in office.
“For a decade, the mayor of New York has had mayoral control, and nobody on the governor’s staff or on the Senate side was complaining about the control that was exerted by the mayor,” Glick said. “Many of us in the Assembly were very deeply concerned about the way in which Mayor Bloomberg proceeded.
"We are more comfortable with Mayor de Blasio and for the first time in years ... we actually have an educator [as schools chancellor]," Glick continued. "We would like to give them the opportunity to do their job.”
At a press conference Monday, Cuomo reiterated his commitment to charters: “I'm going to make sure the charter school movement can continue and grow and has that support in every city in the state,” he said.
In short, there is no power that Cuomo does not think he should have if it benefits him and his donors.
Thus, gubernatorial control of the NYC schools system, with Cuomo calling the shots.
Read the whole Bakeman article, there's a lot more there about the battles over education, pre-K funding and the like in the budget.
In the end, the only thing that stands between Cuomo getting his way on these issues is Sheldon Silver and the Assembly.
The pro-charter/pro-reform forces have been helped in the Senate by the defection of Tony Avella to the Independent Democratic Caucus that governs the chamber with the GOP.
Whatever Cuomo seems to want from the IDC, Cuomo seems to get.
About the only thing I have seen the IDC turn on Cuomo over was the pre-K funding for NYC - the Senate gave NYC more money than Cuomo wanted.
Otherwise, it's basically Cuomo calling the shots in the State Senate - and maybe the whole state if the Assembly goes along.