BAYSIDE, Queens (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams returned to Bayside High School in Queens Tuesday morning to push for a four-year extension of mayoral control of the city's public schools.
Adams was joined by Schools Chancellor David Banks.
"Mayoral accountability in New York City Public Schools is what has allowed us to create Universal Pre-K, increase graduation rates, and get kids back into the classroom safely and swiftly during COVID-19," said the mayor. "Continuing mayoral accountability will benefit all of our students and will allow Chancellor Banks and myself to make the transformative changes in the education system that will address systemic inequities."
State legislators are preparing to vote on a proposal from Gov. Kathy Hochul to extend the system of mayoral control by another four years.
Adams attended Bayside when public schools were governed by elected community boards, and is highly critical of the time period, saying it had a negative effect on him.
The mayor frequently cites his struggles with an undiagnosed learning disability
"I spent many days here frustrated, why I couldn't learn, only to discover in college that I had a learning disability that was undiagnosed," Adams said.
Adams said mayoral control allowed Bayside to receive an additional $1.6 million in city funds last year.
Banks is also a believer in mayoral control, first enacted in 2002 under former Mayor Bloomberg.
"As a product of our public schools and a leader who knows all too well the challenges before us, this is personal to me," said Banks. "Mayoral accountability allows us to collectively tackle systemic problems so that all of our kids may have bright starts and bold futures."
Both believe it has led to higher graduation rates, significant growth in the preschool system, and enabled elected officials to quickly respond to coronavirus.
During a legislative hearing last week some lawmakers pushed back on the proposed extension.
Some said four years was too long while others argued to scrap it altogether, questioning the amount of power it gives the mayor.
"Mayoral control to me silences that debate because ultimately one person gets to make the decision and that's the end of it," said Tom Sheppard with Panel for Educational Policy.
It is likely that the state legislature will approve mayoral control -- it hasn't voted against it in the last 20 years. The deadline for the state budget is April 1.
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