A plan to give Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano more control over the city’s schools appears unlikely to garner Assembly support.
The state Senate last week signaled its support for mayoral control of Yonkers schools as part of its one-house budget resolution, which was passed just after 2 a.m. Friday.
But the two senators who represent Yonkers—Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, and Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye—spoke out against the language in the resolution, saying they weren’t consulted prior to it being released. The budget resolution, which serves as a Senate wish list in negotiations with the Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was crafted by Republicans and a caucus of breakaway Democrats who control the chamber.
The plan, however, wasn’t embraced by Yonkers’ Assembly representatives either. In a joint statement, Assembly members Shelley Mayer and Gary Pretlow called the Senate’s embrace of mayoral control “unwise and premature.”
“We are deeply distressed that the Senate Majority Coalition called for mayoral control of the Yonkers Public Schools in their one house budget resolution,” Pretlow and Mayer, both Yonkers Democrats, said in the statement. “The immediate issue for our schools is funding not governance.
We need to find the money to avoid layoffs and protect class size and programs, not enact governance changes that the school community has not asked for and which would have no effect on the funding shortfall.”
Of course mayoral control of schools doesn't bear the same prestige it once did now that Governor Cuomo is looking to override charter school policies in localities.
Still, every time an attempt to hand schools off to one power broker fails, I like it.
Here's hoping this one ends up on the junk heap too.