New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling the state legislature back into session take action on mayoral control of the New York City school system.
“The governor is calling an extraordinary legislative session for Wednesday, June 28, to take up the issue of mayoral control,” Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, said in a press release on Tuesday. “The governor has discussed the extraordinary session with the legislative leaders.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio along with city and state leaders have been behind the push to extend mayoral control of the schools, which is set to expire on June 30.
On Tuesday, the mayor’s office voiced cautious optimism over the new turn of events.
“It’s an important step in the right direction,” said Freddi Goldstein, the mayor’s Deputy Press Secretary.
In 2002, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrested local power over city schools from the legislature, but with a time limit attached.
Lawmakers left Albany last week without acting on an extension of the mayor’s power, which will lapse at the end of the month if not approved at this special session. A new board would then be formed to take over the city’s schools in that case.
The New York City school system is the biggest in the Unites States, with over 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools. Its budget is around $25 billion a year with about $4.6 billion of it paying for pensions and interest on capital plan debt.
According the Census Bureau, Hispanic and Latino students made up almost 40% of the student population, while African-Americans make up about 30%, with Asian-Americans making up 15% and non-Hispanic whites making up about 14% of the student populace.