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Mayoral control extension unlikely to be included final state budget, lawmakers say

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Department of Education Chancellor David Banks made a fervent appeal to Albany lawmakers on Tuesday, expressing optimism for a potential extension of mayoral control under Mayor Eric Adams. Banks, speaking at the State Capitol Building, emphasized the strides made in rebuilding trust within the city’s public school system and highlighted tangible achievements. However, with the looming budget deadline of Thursday, April 4, time for deliberation is dwindling.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie acknowledged Banks’ efforts but indicated that the matter hadn’t been addressed in budget negotiations. Heastie’s sentiments were echoed by Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, both Queens Democrats, who emphasized the need for a separate debate on the issue, citing various concerns and advocating for a more democratic approach to governance.

Meanwhile, lawmakers await the release of a crucial review of mayoral control by the State Education Department, which was initially scheduled for March 31 but has been delayed. Notably, a letter from Mayor Adams, obtained by NY1, raised objections to the involvement of CUNY Law School in the review, citing concerns about bias following a public protest at a commencement ceremony.

As the budget deadline approaches, Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris acknowledged the ambitious timeline, conceding that many significant issues remain unresolved. Governor Kathy Hochul, while citing delays due to the Easter holiday, reiterated her priorities for budget allocation, emphasizing healthcare, education, and public safety.

In the midst of budget negotiations, discussions also revolve around potential increases in penalties for assaults on retail workers. However, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of such measures in combating crime, signaling potential resistance to this aspect of the budget proposal.

Despite the challenges and unresolved issues, efforts persist to reach a responsible budget agreement swiftly. While the fate of mayoral control hangs in the balance, Albany lawmakers continue to navigate the complexities of finalizing the state’s financial plan, with competing priorities and perspectives shaping the negotiation process.

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