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Hochul stalls on signing mayoral control and smaller class size bills

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The state legislature has to force Gov. Kathy Hochul into approving its two-year extension of mayoral control over New York City schools if she doesn’t act by the time it expires Thursday, The Post has learned.

Hochul, who cruised to victory in the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday night, has yet to sign two bills passed a month ago — that would extend Mayor Eric Adams’ control of city schools and shrink public school class sizes respectively.

“We passed our legislation and — as a matter of courtesy — were waiting for the governor to call it,” said State Sen. John Liu, who chairs the New York City Education Committee, on Wednesday afternoon.

“But tomorrow, we’re going to call it. Because it’s certainly not going to be on the legislature that mayoral control expires,” by end of day on June 30, he said.

Hochul had previously pushed for a four-year extension of mayoral control, tacking on a year to the three that Adams had proposed as a show of good will.

A source close to negotiations said that, “City Hall has voiced concerns to the governor about the legislation.”

Asked whether the governor would sign one or both education bills this week, her office said, “Governor Hochul has consistently supported mayoral control and is committed to helping ensure that every student in New York receives a world-class education, and we are reviewing these pieces of legislation.”

The state Senate and Assembly pass hundreds of bills each year, but they do not automatically go to the governor’s desk to be signed. Instead, the chamber that first passed the legislation typically holds it until a governor gives them the OK to send it to her desk.

Once a bill reaches the governor, however, she has 10 days to decide whether to veto or sign it into law.

New York City mayors have maintained accountability over the public schools since 2002, except for a brief period of a little over a month in 2009, as the state legislature struggled to reach an agreement to extend it.

A citywide Board of Education temporarily took over that looked a lot like the system under mayoral control, with officials from the Bloomberg administration to fill its seats and choose then-Chancellor Joel Klein as the school boss.

“Beforehand, there were weeks of horror stories of what would happen to payroll, to contracts. It was all just a scare tactic,” said David Bloomfield, a professor of education law and policy at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. “Life went on without a blink.”

But renewals have never stalled with the governor.

“She has new power as the democratic nominee, she has less to worry about now than three weeks ago — or a day ago,” Bloomfield said.

“As a show of support for Adams, and for her position to have a longer renewal period, she might.”

Controversial bills sometimes require negotiations between a governor and legislators that result in chapter amendments, or agreements to alter the bill that lawmakers must approve later.

By contrast, rushing the process by sending a bill to the governor before she calls for it could result in a veto, which legislators would want to avoid.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, who chairs the education committee, told The Post he’s “in the dark” about the status of the two bills.

He said he hoped the governor would sign at least one bill before mayoral control expires — but prefers that she signs both.

“They’ll figure out something to do, at least temporarily,” he said, with the mayoral control expiration date rapidly approaching.

Meanwhile, legislators, parents, teachers and advocates rallied on Wednesday morning to demand that Hochul sign the bill to shrink class sizes in city schools.

“It is absolutely criminal what the mayor’s doing, cutting budgets now when our kids need smaller class sizes more than ever before,” said Leonie Haimson from the advocacy group Class Size Matters. “We are demanding that Governor Hochul sign the class size bill now that prevents or minimizes cuts to our children and their school.”

The protesters headed from the rally to the governor’s Manhattan office to deliver a petition with more than 7,000 signatures, while 38 state and city lawmakers signed a joint letter to push for the month-old legislation.

“I’ve inquired why has this bill not been sent up for signature,” said State Sen. Robert Jackson, who spearheaded court action to secure more state funding for city schools.

“Bottom line is that, as you may know, that Eric Adams is basically maybe insinuating or communicating, not to sign the bill. And we as parents of all of our close to a million students (know) the time is now,” he said.

Another source close to the negotiations confirmed there have been conversations between the governor’s office and the mayor’s office since it passed the legislature this month.

The state legislature on Wednesday did not appear eager to force Hochul’s hand on the class size bill.

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