Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany Wednesday to urge state lawmakers to renewal the 2002 state policy giving him control over the city’s schools for another seven years, though Republicans have expressed concerns about such a long extension.
Mayoral control of the city’s schools is set to expire June 30 if lawmakers do not act to renew it. Last year, at the behest of Senate Republicans, the Legislature extended the policy for only one year.
De Blasio offered a long list of statistics that he said shows local control has led to better student performance and greater efficiency. The Democratic mayor noted that previous mayors from both parties have supported the idea.
“When you’ve got a graduation rate of over 70 percent for the first time in New York City history, when test scores are going up … these are real indicators of tangible progress for our kids and their parents,” he told reporters following a closed-door meeting with lawmakers.
Senate Republicans said state officials wouldn’t be doing their job if they simply rubberstamp a long extension.
“We’re here to see how it’s working,” said Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Long Island).
Legislation to extend the policy for some period of time is expected to pass before lawmakers adjourn next month.
De Blasio’s request for a long extension could face greater challenges with the Senate’s GOP leaders following news that prosecutors are investigating an effort he helped organize in 2014 to raise campaign money for Democratic state Senate candidates.
The investigation was referenced by Sen. Terrence Murphy, a Westchester County Republican, during a back-and-forth with de Blasio during a meeting of the Senate Education Committee.
“Convince me why I should vote for mayoral control, with all the allegations that are going on in your office and your administration?” Murphy asked.
De Blasio responded by saying lawmakers should support the policy because of the evidence that it’s working.