Mayor de Blasio opposes all but the Assembly push for a straight two-year extension.
ALBANY — State Senate Republicans are prepared to end the legislative session next week without extending the law giving Mayor de Blasio control over the city school system if the Assembly won’t negotiate, one insider warns.
The Assembly, over Senate GOP opposition, included a two-year extension of the expiring mayoral control law in a bill that also contained dozens of local taxes in counties across the state.
While the Senate Republicans, who have been warring with de Blasio, have sought to link mayoral control to pro-charter school initiatives and other issues, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie insists he will not wheel-and-deal on the issue.
“If the Assembly refuses to come to the table, they run the risk that nothing gets done,” said a source close to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County).
The high-stakes political game of chicken comes as the legislative session is scheduled to wrap up on June 21.
“We’re very comfortable with the bill that we passed,” Heastie spokesman Michael Whyland said Sunday when asked about the possibility of the legislative session ending without the law being renewed.
The Senate has already begun separately passing the individual local tax extenders the Assembly wrapped in its mayoral control bill.
"This is about the proper education of 1.1 million school children in the City of New York,” the Flanagan source said. “It has absolutely nothing to do with a sales tax extender in rural upstate Wyoming County. And we’re not under any circumstances tying those things together.”
The source insisted the Senate is leaving Albany no later than June 21 — no matter what.
“Senator Flanagan has great respect for (former Senate Majority Leader Joseph) Bruno and the ability he had to simply walk away if the other parties weren’t being reasonable and having real conversations toward a negotiated deal,” the source said.
Whyland responded that the Assembly bill simply groups local extenders — including mayoral control — “that we do all the time” into one bill.
Sen. Jeffrey Klein (l.) and Sen. John Flanagan speak with reporters after meeting with Gov. Cuomo.
“If counties are concerned, they should tell the Senate to pass our bill,” Whyland said.
Not renewing the law could create uncertainty but would not necessarily mean the end of mayoral control. The Legislature could come back later in the summer to enact an extension before the new school year begins. That happened in 2009 when an attempted leadership coup in 2009 shut down the Senate for a month. During that time, the Assembly worked out a deal with then Mayor Michael Bloomberg on an extension, passed it and left Albany for the year. But Senate Democrats, once the coup was resolved, initially refused to go along.
The Senate finally acted to renew the law in August.
If the law does expire for good, which few expect, the school system would revert to much the maligned old Board of Education where the mayor would appoint just two members and the five borough presidents one each.
So far, there have been five different bills introduced to extend the law this year.
In addition to the straight two-year extender pushed by the Assembly, Flanagan who has been warring with de Blasio, recently introduced three bills to extend mayoral control, but with strings attached.
One bill would extend the law five years but also enact a controversial education investment tax credit that’s vehemently opposed by Assembly Democrats and the state teachers union.
The other two would extend mayoral control by one and two years, respectively. All three bills would also loosen restrictions on charter schools — a move opposed by Assembly Democrats and the teachers union.
In addition, Sen. Jeffrey Klein, the Bronx Democrat who heads a group of eight breakaway Dems aligned with the GOP in a leadership coalition, has introduced his own mayoral control bill that would extend the law two years while also giving community parent boards more power. De Blasio opposes all but the Assembly push for a straight two-year extension.
Gov. Cuomo speaks at a rally in New York.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will be featured at a big-money June 26 fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel for Gov. Cuomo’s 2018 reelection campaign.
Tickets top out at $50,000.
Several former staffers to President Obama and ex-Cuomo aides are banding together to help raise money Wednesday for the potential congressional candidacy of Gareth Rhodes.
Rhodes, a former Cuomo deputy press secretary and Obama White House intern, is one of at least seven Democrats eying a run against freshman Hudson Valley GOP Rep. John Faso. He‘s one of six New York Republicans House members Cuomo is targeting in 2018.
Paulette Aniskoff and Aditi Hardikar, who worked for Obama, and former Cuomo staffers Mylan Denerstein, Josh Vlasto, and Peter Kauffmann, who was a consultant, are on the host committee for Wednesday’s New York City fundraiser as is Robert Diamond, who worked for both.
Rhodes, 28, is a Kingston, N.Y., native who quit the Cuomo administration after four years in 2015 to attend Harvard Law School. He also was an intern for three months in the Obama White House.
“Gareth was a very popular staffer,” said one source close to Cuomo. “He continues to stay in touch. Everyone wants to be helpful.”
Cuomo has not yet endorsed in the race.