Mayoral control of New York City public schools extended 2 years

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Thursday, June 29, 2017
Mayoral control of New York City public schools extended 2 years
The State Senate voted to extend mayoral control of New York City schools.

ALBANY, New York (WABC) -- New York lawmakers have approved a two-year extension of mayoral control of public schools in New York City.

The state Senate passed the bill 48-2, which amends various laws including mayoral control and county sales taxes.

The state Assembly approved the bill in a 115-to-15 vote just after 1 a.m.

The bill extends local sales taxes, includes $55 million for upstate New York communities affected by recent floods and reduces the state's take from a struggling upstate racetrack casino. It also renames the new Tappan Zee Bridge after the late Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The agreement was worked out in closed-door negotiations between lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mario Cuomo's son. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, called the deal "comprehensive bipartisan legislation to meet the diverse needs of every community in New York."

"It's not perfect, but it's a balance that showed compromise and it shows we're moving forward," Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, said of the final bill that allowed lawmakers to adjourn for the year.

The 15-year-old policy giving New York City's mayor control of city schools was set to expire Friday if lawmakers hadn't voted to renew it. Lawmakers ended their regular session last week without a deal to extend the policy, only to be ordered back into session by the governor.

Mayor de Blasio issued the following statement on the vote:

Mayoral control of New York City schools is critical to the futures of more than one million kids. Providing a two-year extension gives the system an important measure of stability that's key to initiatives that have produced record achievement.

In extending our control of the nation's largest school system, State lawmakers and the Governor deserve great credit for protecting the dramatic progress our teachers and principals have made in classrooms across the city. At the end of the day, Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, and Leaders Flanagan, Klein, and Stewart-Cousins worked overtime to ensure New York City schools continued on a path of progress. The bipartisan cooperation that prevailed on this issue will have an immediate and lasting effect on the lives of our city's children. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, education advocates, business and labor leaders, and a diverse coalition of allies played an equally crucial role in putting aside partisan politics and getting this legislation across the finish line.

Our state government's action allows us to refocus our attention away from the political process and back to our classrooms, where it belongs.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)