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Control opponent on the left turns to lawmaker on the right

State Senator Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) will introduce his plan for mayoral control this week, and one of the ideas has an unusual source. According to Leonie Haimson, executive director of the parent-advocacy group Class Size Matters and a member of the Parent Commission on School Governance, aspects of the commission’s anti-mayoral control literature have made their way into Kruger’s bill.

Haimson said the strange-bedfellows alliance makes sense and, in the mayoral control battle, is commonplace. “Some of the most progressive people and some of the most conservative people are the ones most opposed to mayoral control,” she said. “The ordinary lines of left and right disappear.”

On one side of the proverbial bed is Kruger, a conservative Democrat who is chair of the Finance Committee and who–along with a handful of Democrats– vehemently opposes Senate Majority leader Malcolm Smith’s support for mayoral control. A consistent opponent of Smith’s, in November of last year, Kruger led the Gang of Three, and nearly abandoned the party. Should Smith be forced to turn to Republicans for backing, his leadership would be severely weakened.

Specifically, Kruger’s proposal eliminates the position of schools chancellor and replaces it with a commissioner of education, who the mayor would select from a list of three candidates nominated by the Panel for Educational Policy board. (Boston uses a system like this). Kruger’s office would neither confirm nor deny that it had taken the idea from the parent commission.

More collaborations of this sort could spell trouble for the DOE’s hopes to keep mayoral control unaltered.

UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect the fact that the Parent Commission on School Governance, not Class Size Matters, drew up a proposal on mayoral control.

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