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Lawmakers punt on mayoral control of New York City’s schools, setting the stage for another June showdown

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The annual showdown over who should control New York City’s schools isn’t likely to be settled until June, after lawmakers left it out of their budget deal.

The omission was somewhat surprising, since sources said last week that the deal was likely to give Mayor Bill de Blasio another one-year extension. A traditional deal at the end of the legislative session is now likely, which means the mayor may face another round of contentious hearings, this time during an election year, focused on his handling of education issues.

The fight comes down to a 2002 law that dismantled the city’s 32 local school boards, gave the mayor power to appoint a schools chancellor and create a centralized board to make education policy decisions. That law has been continually renewed, and now expires in June.

Short-term control of city schools has now become routine for Mayor de Blasio, who once hoped to secure a permanent extension but has won only one-year extensions for the past two years. Senate Republicans, who have a longstanding feud with de Blasio, have blocked a longer-term agreement, though no serious proposals to abolish mayoral control and create a new governing structure for New York City schools have materialized.

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