Senate Democratic leaders are meeting right now with the most vehement critics of mayoral control, trying to persuade them to go along with a tentative deal on school governance that Sens. John Sampson and Malcolm Smith struck with the Bloomberg administration yesterday.
The persuasion effort is happening at 250 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, according to Sen. Jose Serrano of the Bronx.
Serrano said he is happy with the deal struck yesterday by Sens. John Sampson and Malcolm Smith and would like to go to Albany as soon as possible to seal it.
“I’d like to go right now!” he said in a phone interview. “Everyone wants to talk about they want to be in their districts for the summer, that’s when all of the events are happening, the street festivals and the family days. My thinking is, the sooner we get this done, the sooner we can start scheduling things here in the district.”
But other senators might be wary. The deal includes a component Serrano favored, a new panel on arts education that would be a subdivision of the citywide school board, acting as a “watchdog” and performing audits on whether arts education is really happening in classrooms.
Other senators have been more vehement critics of mayoral control and demanded stronger checks against the mayor’s authority over the public schools. A group led by Sen. Bill Perkins of Manhattan railed against the mayor yesterday. Sen. Eric Adams of Brooklyn declared that senators would not “knuckle over” to pressure.
“We are going to be the bad guys,” Adams said. “It doesn’t matter what you think of us. It matters what the parents think of us.”
Update: Sen. Carl Kruger’s chief of staff, Jason Kopell, just told Anna that the meeting could last for hours. “When they get together, they can be there for hours. It’s a good group that is very vocal and they give each other the opportunity to talk,” he said.