De Blasio Asks for More Education Money, Control in NYC

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his priorities for the state budget as he looks for increased funding for education and public housing as well as permanent control of the city’s schools, citing a number of ways his administration has been successful in improving the education system in the city.

De Blasio told a joint meeting of the Assembly and Senate budget committees, “Mayoral control already makes it clear who is responsible for struggling schools in New York City – I am.”

In his almost three hours of testimony, de Blasio argued that the state had not done its job, especially in the areas of education, homelessness and transportation funding.  He continued by asking the state for an additional $2.6 billion in school aid that he said is owed to the city under a settlement from the 2007 Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, writes Glenn Blain for The New York Daily News.

However, before the mayor had even finished, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his opposition to handing over permanent control of the school system.  He referred to the arrangement as an “experiment,” and said it should be renewed in three-year increments.

“The point was, let’s try this, mayoral control in New York City, it’d been tried in several other cities across the country. But let’s try this and see if it’s better than the board of education system. And that’s the genesis, and let’s review it periodically to see how it’s doing,” Mr. Cuomo said.

In a post-testimony press conference, Cuomo said he was unaware of a model other than using a school board system or mayoral control.  He then went on to propose an expansion to the universal pre-Kindergarten program to include three-year-olds in a pilot program.  The issue is a signature of de Blasio’s, reports Jillian Jorgensen for The Observer.

De Blasio and Cuomo have been unable to agree on issues like these for some time – particularly Cuomo’s push to use standardized tests for teacher evaluations, which he believes will hurt not only teachers but students as well, as it causes teachers to teach for the test.

In addition, he believes Cuomo did not include enough MTA funding in his budget.

“I think the way to think about it is, there’s a host of issues. I’m going to tell you what I think on each one,” the mayor said in describing his views on the governor’s education reform agenda. “I think a clear majority of the time the governor and I agree, but there are some areas where there’s real disagreement as well.”