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State Wrests Some Power From De Blasio in School Control Vote

By Amy Zimmer | June 17, 2016 1:49pm
 De Blasio got another year for mayoral control, but Albany also granted itself more power, reports say.
De Blasio got another year for mayoral control, but Albany also granted itself more power, reports say.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

MANHATTAN — As state lawmakers finished their legislative session Friday, they granted Mayor Bill de Blasio a one-year extension of his control over the city’s public schools — two years less than the mayor had hoped for, according to reports.

But in exchange, the state appeared to wrest more control away from the city — by awarding itself new oversight powers over city schools for the first time, according to NY1.

The state will be more involved in the Department of Education’s funding mechanisms, by requiring the mayor to publicly disclose the funding formula for each school under his control, according to NY1.

Senate Republicans backed the plan as a way to hold the mayor more accountable, according to NY1.

The mayor's office and the Education Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the vote.

But the mayor said on the radio Thursday morning that mayoral control, which began in 2002 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was desperately needed in the wake of a corrupt school system. Previous to this, the city's school system was overseen by both the city's Board of Education and a schools chancellor appointed by the board.

Many described the joint leadership as a political morass of corruption — though some advocates noted that local community school boards lost most of their authority, such as hiring and firing powers, years before mayoral control was instituted.

"The previous system of school governance was typified by chaos and corruption, and those are the exact words that need to be used — chaos and corruption," de Blasio said Thursday on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show before the Albany vote came through.

"I want all parents to know, as a public school parent myself until last June, that I am devoted to deepening our ability of parents to get real input into their schools, into the school system and help us to make it better."