In Case You Were Wondering, the State Senate Is Still Throwing Pies at One Another

By
Carl Kruger. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Despite the stalemate having been resolved in the State Senate, one of the most pressing issues facing the body — mayoral control of schools — has not yet been addressed. Mayor Bloomberg's mandate to run our public-school system expired on June 30, at the heart of the turmoil after the June 8 Senate coup. Bloomberg himself quickly stepped in to bridge the void, helping reassemble a nonexistent School Board, which in turn voted to retain Joel Klein as chancellor. But that doesn't mean the bill doesn't still need to be addressed. A measure to retain mayoral control passed the State Assembly and is now facing the Senate — but already some Democratic senators, who would like to amend it to temper Bloomberg's power using parental influence, are saying they can't pass it. Senator Carl Kruger, for example, called the bill "DOA" and left Albany before the session was concluded today. Even though it has enough votes to pass — Republicans support the bill as is, as do several Democrats — it won't reach the floor.

Opponents like Kruger want to drop the bill until September, when the Assembly has reconvened, so they can negotiate the amendments they want to add. September, you'll recall, is the month school starts. Also, you'll recall, the Senate actually already had its chance to address the bill in time to negotiate with the Assembly — they just couldn't get their act together. Without the caucus in agreement, Democratic leadership won't bring the bill to a vote.

Complicating the problems upstate is the fact that reform-minded young senator Daniel Squadron, who supports the Assembly's version of the mayoral control bill, can't show his support because he's on his honeymoon. His absence returns the split in the body to 30 Republicans, 31 Democrats, not enough to pass a vote even if all the Dems are united. If Paterson calls a special session over deadlocks that result from this situation, Squadron will have to return. In which case, we feel extremely bad for the guy (who, to be fair, planned his wedding and honeymoon for when he was supposed to be on vacation). Can you imagine explaining to your new bride that you have to leave your honeymoon to pile into the world's most powerful clown car?

Control of Schools Is Still Stalled in Senate [City Room/NYT]