The board of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), which represents the city’s public school principals, voted on Sunday that they have “no confidence” in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s stewardship of the nation’s largest public school system.
The vote came two days before thousands of public school students are set to return to classrooms for in-person learning. In addition, the CSA board demanded that de Blasio hand the reins of the city’s public schools over to the state Education Department for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During this health crisis, school leaders have lost trust and faith in Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to support them in their immense efforts to provide them with the guidance and staffing they need,” said CSA President Mark Cannizzaro in a statement.
Cannizzaro described the Sept. 27 announcement as the “most difficult decision” he has had to make in 35 years of education.
De Blasio delayed the start of in-person classes for a second time just over a week ago and instead rolled out a phased-in approach for school reopening. On Sept. 29, thousands of students in k-5 and k-8 schools are set to return to the classroom.
Roughly 90,000 pre-k, 3-k and district 75 students returned to school for in-person learning last week and middle schools as well as high school are set to beginning receiving hybrid learning students on Oct. 1.
Union leadership released a lengthy list of school reopening concerns after the vote of not confidence. The most pressing issue though is school staffing shortages given that hybrid learning inevitably means more classes.
For weeks, de Blasio has promised to provide thousands more teaching staff to public schools in order to meet the demands of hybrid learning but has yet to specify exactly how many.
“For the past six months, we’ve worked with our labor partners to navigate completely uncharted waters and accomplish our shared goal of serving students this fall. We’ll continue this work to guarantee a safe, health and successful opening for all,” said DOE spokesperson Miranda Barbot in an e-mail to amNewYork Metro. “This week, more kids will be safely sitting in New York City classrooms than in any other major American city — a testament to city leadership and our educators’ commitment to their students, and the importance of in-person education.”
The state Education Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.