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Bloomberg, via satellite: "We are going into uncharted territory"

Mayor Bloomberg appeared via satellite at a press conference in Albany today. I watched via webcast.
Mayor Bloomberg appeared via satellite at a press conference in Albany today. I watched via webcast.

As Governor Paterson said he will give the state Senate a last chance to operate at 7 o’clock tonight, Mayor Bloomberg outlined his plan for what happens if mayoral control expires at midnight. The plan was, by his own admission, murky and short on details.

First, he said, “the lawyers take over in New York City”:

Every decision – from personnel decisions to policy decisions — will be subject to litigation and uncertainty. That’s no ways to run a school system. It will be like a nightmare flashback to the days when politics ruled the schools and our children suffered the consequences.

Critics of mayoral control and people who are familiar with the pre-2002 school system have disputed this characterization, saying chaos would not ensue if mayoral control expires.

Governor Paterson echoed Bloomberg’s concerns, saying that if mayoral control expires the city’s public schools will descend into “total chaos.”

Bloomberg, speaking via satellite from City Hall at a press conference in Albany, said he will work to “shield the system from the chaos the Senate is experiencing and is planning to inflict on city schoolchildren”:

Make no mistake about it: We will not allow our schools to be padlocked or summer school to be canceled. Summer school starts tomorrow, no ifs ands or buts. The kids that are going to summer school need help. And we are going to provide it.

We’ll keep things running to the best of our ability and deal with questions as they arise, that is our responsibility. But we are going into uncharted territory, and there’s no crystal ball. Our job will be to try to shield new york children and their parents from the chaos to the best of our ability and continue to press the Senate for action.

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