NYC teachers union boss wants mayoral control of schools ended

NYC teachers union boss wants mayoral control of schools ended

The head of the powerful city teachers union will oppose extending mayoral control of the public schools as currently enacted past its 2022 expiration date.

“We need a change. Parents and educators need more voice. A single person in control, with few checks and balances, is not good for our school system,” United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew told The Post on Tuesday.

If successful, the union plan would lead state lawmakers to reform existing legislation in line with a 2013 proposal by Mulgrew to limit a mayor’s influence over educational policy and unilateral ability to pick the schools chancellor.

It won’t affect Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose second and final term ends on Dec. 31, 2021, but Mulgrew plans to discuss it with the candidates seeking to replace Hizzoner, UFT spokesman Dick Riley said.

De Blasio repeatedly fought to extend mayoral control of the schools, most recently in 2019, when he won a three-year extension through June 30, 2022.

During a news conference Tuesday, de Blasio called mayoral control “the only way to move things forward because there’s actual accountability to the people — and the other systems that were tried in the past did not provide that.”

“We’ve been able to get so much more to happen in schools. We could have never done Pre-K without mayoral control,” he said.

De Blasio also said the schools would have “never reopened” following the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Even though we’re all in pain now that they’re closed temporarily, they’ll be coming back,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de BlasioEd Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

“And we had two full months that our schools were open.”

Mayoral control was instituted in 2002 when Albany changed the structure of the former Board of Education and eliminated 32 locally elected community school boards, following years of mismanagement and corruption scandals.

The move — championed by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg — turned the Department of Education into a city agency and gave the mayor the power to pick the schools chancellor and appoint eight of the 13 members of its Panel for Educational Policy.

Under the old system, the seven members of the Board of Education — five appointed by the borough presidents and two by the mayor — chose the chancellor and were in charge of policy.

Mulgrew’s plan, first reported by the New York Times, calls for the mayor to choose five members of the PEP, with the remaining picks going to each of the five borough presidents, the city comptroller, the City Council speaker and the public advocate.

The members would also serve staggered, three-year terms with an option for renewal, rather than at the pleasure of whoever appointed them.

In addition, Mulgrew wants the PEP to conduct initial searches for new schools chancellors, then screen the candidates and have the mayor choose from among the top three finishers.

The chancellor would also serve a two-year, renewable term and could only be fired for cause.