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Budget deal could extend mayoral control of New York City schools for one year

Lawmakers are likely to give Mayor Bill de Blasio another one-year extension of mayoral control, a source confirmed.

The agreement is not yet finalized and was first reported by the Daily News and then Politico New York. With lawmakers still unable to reach a final deal in this year’s topsy-turvey budget process, everything is subject to change.

Short-term control of city schools has now become routine for the mayor, who once hoped to secure a permanent extension but has had only one-year extensions for the past two years. This year, the mayor requested a “multi-year” extension at his legislative hearing in January. The governor suggested three years and the Assembly wanted seven.

But Senate Republicans, who have a longstanding feud with de Blasio, have shown no signs of offering an extension more generous than one year. The annual battle is a political showdown, yet no serious proposals to abolish mayoral control and create a new governing structure for New York City schools have materialized.

Instead, state lawmakers use the provision to criticize de Blasio and question his track record on education. For his part, de Blasio has fired back, accusing state lawmakers of playing politics with the fate of New York City students.

It would be a change of pace if mayoral control is slipped into a budget agreement instead of a final deal at the end of the legislative session, as lawmakers have done in the past. However, the move could help avoid contentious mayoral control hearings — and any subsequent drama — during an election year.

Last year, de Blasio traveled to Albany for a lengthy mayoral control hearing and then skipped the second hearing in New York City. In both cases, his actions drew criticism from lawmakers.

It is anyone’s guess when the state’s budget deal will be finalized. Lawmakers have now blown through their deadline to establish an on-time budget and are operating under a budget extender that runs out May 31, though both the Assembly and Senate have started passing some bills.