With the future of mayoral control of the city's schools on the line, Mayor Bill de Blasio is rallying supporters. He is demanding Albany lawmakers extend City Hall's authority over the system, but time is running out. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
The deadline is fast approaching.
At the end of June, the law giving Mayor Bill de Blasio control of the city's public school system expires. And it is up to state lawmakers to approve an extension.
"Three days left," de Blasio said. "Our colleagues in Albany should not leave the capitol until they pass mayoral control. It's as simple as that.
Albany lawmakers are scheduled to leave the Capitol on Wednesday and end their legislative session.
"They want to squeeze you, Mr. Mayor. But don't let them squeeze you. Give the mayor control," said Rep. Adriano Espaillat, whose district covers parts of Manhattan and the Bronx.
The mayor held a rally at City Hall with supporters on Monday. He had students by his side.
"We don't want our children treated as political pawns," de Blasio said.
Members of the city's teachers' union, known as the UFT, did not attend the event. In a statement, Michael Mulgrew, the union president, said, "Mayoral control should not be a matter for debate and doesn't need the UFT to defend it. We applaud the State Assembly for standing up for the city and its schools against the Senate’s attempt to politicize this issue."
The mayor is calling for a straight extension of mayoral control. But Senate Republicans, who control the chamber, want to link it to an expansion of charter schools. The mayor suggested that would not be a deal-breaker.
"I don't care what combination of features go into their deliberations," de Blasio said. "They have to continue mayoral control."
Before Mayor Michael Bloomberg won control of the school system in 2002, a network of local school boards ran the city's public schools. There is widespread consensus among political, labor and business leaders that resurrecting the old boards would be a serious mistake.
"We're three days away, and no one has ever seen anything like this," de Blasio said.
Of course, that Wednesday deadline could always be moved. Albany lawmakers have until the end of the month to negotiate an extension of mayoral control of the city's schools.