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Silver’s bill likely to pass despite city lawmakers’ concerns

ALBANY, NY — Legislators in the Assembly have roughly 24 hours to amend Silver’s mayoral control bill before it’s voted on, but at this stage, change is practically impossible.

Assemblyman Alan Maisel, one of five education committee members to vote against the bill, said those who oppose Silver’s plan were making no efforts to convert its supporters. “I’m not recruiting anybody,” Maisel said, adding that the bill would surely pass the Assembly tomorrow.

Half of the 10 lawmakers from New York City who sit on the Assembly education committee voted against Silver’s bill.

Joan Millman, who sponsored a bill that would enact the Commission on School Governance’s recommendations, said she voted voted no for three reasons. “The sunset is too long. I would have liked it to be a shorter period of time, so if we need to fix it, it’s easier to correct,” she said, adding that she “would have wanted the chancellor to be an educator,” and the Panel for Educational Policy members to have fixed terms.

The bill’s language about superintendents is what concerned Assemblyman Mark Weprin of Queens, who also voted no. Weprin said in an interview yesterday that he’s not convinced the bill would return superintendents to their old role as neighborhood fixtures who can address parents’ concerns. The 2002 law also mandated superintendents, he said, but the Bloomberg administration used policy to wipe them away in practice.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” Weprin said. He also drafted a quick letter to Chancellor Joel Klein yesterday, asking how he plans to interpret the language on superintendents if it’s passed. He said he’d vote for Silver’s bill if Klein gives him a strong enough assurance that superintendents will have a strong role.

A spokesman for Klein said he had no comment, and Weprin had not received a reply from Klein as of yesterday.