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Bill Proposes 'Inspector' As Part of One-Year New York City Mayoral Control Deal

A New York state Senate bill is proposing to give New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a one-year extension to run New York City's schools, but under the oversight of a state-appointed "education inspector."

The "education inspector" would have significant powers to affect decisions made by the district, including appealing decisions by the Panel for Educational Policy to the state Commissioner of Education, according to Politico New York. (The Panel for Educational Policy is the equivalent of a citywide school board and approves policies and contracts related to the school district.)

The "education inspector" will be appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The inspector will also be entitled to attend all PEP meetings—he or she will serve as an ex-officio member of the board, like the schools chancellor—and have the ability to analyze program effectiveness.

New York City schools have been under mayoral control since 2002, when then-Republican mayor Michael R. Bloomberg convinced the state legislature to allow him to run the district, the largest in the country.

Bloomberg was given a seven-year deal. However, de Blasio, a Democrat, was granted only a one-year extension—despite his request to make the arrangement permanent. That extension expires at the end of June.

After attending a hearing on continuing mayoral control in Albany, de Blasio skipped a similar hearing in the city last month, arguing that he had already answered questions related to the extension and that the move was political.

Assembly Democrats introduced a bill last month with a three-year extension, according to Politico New York. 

The senate bill was introduced by Republican Sens. John Flanagan and Carl Marcellino, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

The proposed education inspector will oversee decisions relating to the co-location of public charter schools—a particularly contentious and divisive issue in New York City.

The inspector will also be able to attend all Panel for Educational Policy meetings and evaluate and make recommendations on a host of issues, including the distribution of school funding, disciplinary procedures for students, teachers, and staff, the overall safety of the city's schools, and parental and community engagement, according to the bill.

The Senate bill changes will also require the city to forward additional data to the state on enrollment, school types, class sizes, principal characteristics, school attendance, demographics, and overcrowding and space utilization, according to the bill.

Democrats panned the proposal, and a spokesman for the governor told the New York Times that Gov. Cuomo supported extending mayoral control for three years. 

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