New Yorkers can speak out on mayoral control of the city’s public school system at a virtual hearing scheduled to take place next month.
The hearing. which was announced on Feb. 21, will be hosted on March 4 jointly by the New York State Senate committees on Education and NYC Education as well as the New York State Assembly Committee on Education. This opportunity will allow family members of students attending schools across the city and state to participate in an open dialogue and voice any concerns.
“There continues to be widespread dissatisfaction among parents, teachers, and other stakeholders with mayoral control of schools,” said Queens state Senator John C. Liu, chairperson of the Senate Committee on NYC Education. “What structural changes can be enacted to improve public engagement and strengthen accountability? Should we simply do away with mayoral control, as Chicago has done? What if any system could work better? We seek ideas and suggestions at this public hearing.”
This news comes after Governor Kathy Hochul announced in her executive budget a plan to renew NYC’s system of mayoral accountability – also referred to as mayoral control – for four years.
Currently, mayoral accountability is set to expire on June 30, so the state Senate and Assembly must determine whether or not to renew, amend or disapprove mayoral accountability by April 1, the deadline of the state budget or through legislation on or before the June 30 expiration. Without approval of this legislation, control of the New York City public school system would revert back to the state.
Many legislators and public servants voiced their approval of the virtual hearing, especially the chance for the public to be able to advocate for themselves and their children during such a volatile time for New Yorkers and education, emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the height of COVID, we heard from many NYC parents about their frustrations that their voices were not heard,” said state Senator Shelley B. Mayer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education. “I look forward to hearing all of the witnesses to have a full airing on this important issue.”
Other public servants agree with the move to allow the public to engage with their city and state governments in order to advocate for themselves and their children.
Bronx Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education agreed with this decision. “With the approval of mayoral control last time, we committed to having hearings on the matter. The public hearing on March 4 continues that commitment and encourages the input of all viewpoints.”
Those wishing to testify are encouraged to sign up and pre-register for the hearing by filling out the NYC Education Committee Witness Registration Form.