Back to school for the tri-state area

September 2, 2008 4:23:42 PM PDT
Summer won't officially end for another three weeks. But it came to an end for one million New York City kids Tuesday morning. It was the first day of school -- and Mayor Bloomberg has a lot on the line. Keeping control of the New York City school system is crucial to Mayor Bloomberg's legacy. And it won't be easy -- since 2002 school spending has been increased by 79 percent.

This year there is a lot at stake -- for not only the education of students but control over the nation's largest school system.

For six years, mayor Bloomberg and School Chancellor Joel Klein have put pressure on teachers and principals to show better results. Now the spotlight is on them.

This is the school year in which the law that granted the mayor control of the schools expires. By June 30th, lawmakers in Albany will decide whether to renew the law -- toss it -- or revise it.

Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein will try to prove their case with improved test scores.

But critics have complained about what they call an ironfisted approach that has sidelined parental input as Mayor Bloomberg successfully eliminated the board of education.

A dozen influential community organizations have formed a coalition with an eye on modifying mayoral control.

Meantime, allies of the mayor have countered with an organization of their own -- called "mayoral accountability for school success" -- with the goal of persuading Albany to extend mayoral control of the schools.

Another wrinkle to the first day of school involves teachers, but not in the classroom. 80 percent of parking permits has been yanked -- that means 50,000 teachers and other school personnel will have to find some place else to park.

WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick

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