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State Lawmakers Debate Mayoral Control of City Schools

Sunday, May 24, 2009

There's just a month to go before the expiration of the law that put Mayor Bloomberg in charge of the schools. As WNYC's Beth Fertig reports, state lawmakers are hoping to agree on a bill this week.

REPORTER: Senate Democrats have been wrestling with the matter and there are deep divisions. Some members want to weaken the mayor's control by giving him fewer appointees on a policy making panel that replaced the old board of education. The mayor currently has a majority. But Senate leader Malcolm Smith supports keeping the basic structure, with some changes to satisfy parents who want more input. Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate. Bronx senator Pedro Espada says he hopes his fellow Democrats can come together on a bill. That way they won't need to rely on help from Republicans, who are more inclined to support Mayor Bloomberg's call to leave the school system the way it is. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver also supports keeping the basic structure of mayoral control with some changes to allow more community involvement. But there's still no consensus on a bill.

For WNYC, I'm Beth Fertig.

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