Cuomo: Legislature must strike deal on mayoral control of schools

Members of the New York Assembly and Senate left Albany Wednesday night for the rest of the year without reaching an agreement to extend mayoral control over New York City schools. Unless they return for a special session by next Friday and reach an agreement, the mayor's control over public schools will expire.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the Legislature's failure to extend mayoral control a "dereliction of their duty." He said he will consider ordering lawmakers to return for a special session.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said intense negotiating went through the night to extend his control over public education in the city, but legislators couldn't reach an agreement.  The mayor addressed the issue on his weekly radio show on WNYC.

"The fact they didn't get done should worry everyone," he said.

If the mayor's control over city schools expires on June 20, the education system would revert back to the old system consisting of a Board of Education and 32 local school boards.

Former Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who served under Mayor Mike Bloomberg, said that system will hurt the city's students.

"The old system, and how horrible it was, and is totally dysfunctional needs to stay buried," he said. "It's a relic of the past. It needs to stay a relic of the past."

In 2002, Bloomberg worked with the state Legislature to grant the mayor control of city public education, making the mayor accountable for the school system's successes and failures. 

Some lawmakers are saying that Albany is holding public education hostage.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, is refusing to grant an extension of mayoral control unless the cap is lifted on the number of charter schools permitted in the city. On WNYC, De Blasio said he has had several conversations with Flanagan about charter schools and wants to see if they can find common ground.

Flanagan said the Senate will reconvene if necessary, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his chamber would also consider reconvening if requested, the AP reported.