Posts tagged "Sheldon Silver"
March 13, 2013
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was not satisfied with the surprising announcement that New York City’s steep budget penalty would be temporary, but his education committee chair said she thinks the news could could ease budget negotiations in Albany.
“To me that means we’re halfway there,” Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said today during the legislature’s joint hearing on the state’s proposed education budget.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Assembly, and the State Senate have each proposed spending plans and they must come to a consensus before the end of the month. This year, because Passover and Easter fall at the end of March, legislators are shooting for a final budget by next week, which means they must strike a deal by the end of the weekend to meet timeline requirements. (more…)
February 27, 2013
A court order and support from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver aren’t enough to stop the city from slashing its schools budget this year.
City officials said today that they were fiscally obligated to move forward in making a midyear budget adjustment to account for an expected $250 million deficit during the final months of the school year, even though a judge has for now barred the state from taking back the funds.
The move has the attorney who convinced the judge to halt the state budget cuts planning to sue the city, too. (more…)
January 30, 2013
Appearing with legislative leaders this morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would seek the right to take over teacher evaluation planning in New York City if local negotiations fall through again.
Cuomo said he still hoped Mayor Bloomberg and teachers union president Michael Mulgrew can break their impasse and agree to a deal on their own terms. But the two sides have failed to reach a deal for more than a year, despite mounting financial penalties for the city, and they fiercely defended their positions in back-to-back legislative hearings this week.
Negotiations resumed this week, and Cuomo said he’s planning to “firmly request” they get a deal done.
“If they don’t, then let the state step in and let the state … determine the evaluation process and impose it on the city of New York,” said Cuomo, who was flanked at a press conference by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate leaders Jeff Klein and Dean Skelos.
June 29, 2010
After repeatedly lobbying the mayor to find more funding for charter schools, charter school leaders believe the battle in Albany is over for this year.
The state’s education spending for next year is still in limbo: Yesterday, Paterson vetoed a budget that included $419 million in education aid, and the legislature may or may not override the veto. But with no players — neither the governor nor the legislature — showing interest in unfreezing charter school funds, advocates are now setting their sights on next year.
“People are already lining up for the 2012 budget,” said James Merriman, head of the city’s Charter School Center.
One last hope for charter school supporters is that Mayor Bloomberg might himself un-do the funding freeze with city funds. Charter school leaders have been petitioning City Hall to fill in the funding freeze using city dollars.
On Friday, the mayor made his first public call for equal per-pupil funding for charter schools in a letter sent to Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson (printed in full below the jump).
But the mayor stopped short of demanding that some of the funds be given to charter schools this year:
It is in keeping with our commitment to fairness and equity that we treat all public schools, charter and non-charter, alike. Given the complexities involved, it would be unreasonable to think that all of the issues involved will be resolved in this session. What is essential is that we move forward with a commitment to end disproportionality. (more…)
Maybe we’ll have a charter cap deal after all.
We’re hearing that the mayor’s top political aide, Howard Wolfson, is in Albany right now meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and representatives of the city and state teachers unions. They’re all trying to hammer out a deal that would allow 260 more charter schools to open in New York State. And they’re racing against a super-tight deadline: June 1, next Tuesday, when the state’s second application to the federal Race to the Top competition must be delivered to the U.S. Education Department headquarters in D.C.
Sticking points in today’s negotiations, we hear, include a continued effort to push against allowing SUNY to act as an authorizer of charter schools. Charter school supporters, led by the Bloomberg administration, say that snatching SUNY’s power is a poison pill that would force them to drop out of negotiations. They say the same thing about a proposal on the table that would mean charters could only open through an RFP-like process.
But our source says that the mayor’s side has given in on at least two key issues: a ban on for-profit companies managing charter schools and permission for the state comptroller to audit charter schools.
We’ll keep you posted as we hear more., at 5:53 pm
July 30, 2009
State senators have finally set a date for their return to Albany to renew mayoral control.
Liz Benjamin of the Daily News is reporting that senators will interrupt their summer recess to vote next Thursday on the school governance bill passed last month by the Assembly. The early-August vote adheres to the timeline set out by Mayor Bloomberg and the UFT when the mayoral control deal was brokered late last week, after the Senate had already decamped for the summer.
But the school governance saga won’t end once the Senate passes the Assembly bill, which adds some checks to mayoral control. Benjamin reports:
The Senate is moving ahead with its votes on chapter amendments despite the fact that the Assembly, which passed its mayoral control reauthorization bill in June, has not yet agreed to do the same.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver this morning reiterated that the only commitment he has given is to discuss the amendments with his majority members in when they return to Albany.
Outgoing UFT president Randi Weingarten, who played a major role in the Senate negotiations, told GothamSchools last week that conversations with Silver led her to believe that the Assembly will pass the chapter amendments. “You know the Assembly will in good faith look at the chapter amendments,” she said.
June 30, 2009
As Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg warn of “total chaos” and ominous “uncharted territory” if mayoral control expires tonight, another, less-frenzied possibility is emerging. The possibility hinges on the success of efforts underway right now to produce a compromise mayoral control bill in the Senate, according to a spokesman for the Campaign for Better Schools, which is pushing a compromise.
A compromise would find a middle ground between the bill introduced by state Senator Frank Padavan, with the support of Mayor Bloomberg, and the one introduced by Senator John Sampson, the Democratic leader in the state Senate, who favors adding checks to the mayor’s power. But it would still mean the June 30 deadline would pass without a new school governance law to replace it.
That’s because in order to become law, both houses of the legislature have to vote for the same bill. But a compromise bill would be different from the one the Assembly passed two weeks ago.
“Our point is that schools will open up as usual tomorrow, even if mayoral control expires,” said the spokesman, Shomwa Shamapande. “Let’s get the legislation right and make sure parents have a voice.”
Shamapande would not disclose details of the talks he said are underway, saying he does not want to jeopardize the effort. I asked him if he is confident the talks will produce a compromise. “We’re hopeful. I’m not going to go with confident,” he said. (more…)
June 26, 2009
A 1998 agreement that gives the city’s police department control over school safety is still in effect, despite city officials’ insistence that it had expired more than six years ago.
The revelation has advocates and elected officials lambasting the city for not disclosing the agreement’s extension.
The original agreement, between Mayor Rudy Giuliani and then-Board of Education President William Thompson, was set to expire in 2002 and was widely assumed to have done so. But in fact, Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein quietly renewed the agreement in January 2003.
The renewal came to light for the first time this month, after Assemblyman Karim Camara urged his colleagues to consider school safety issues when deciding how to vote on mayoral control, according to Udi Ofer, director of advocacy for the New York Civil Liberties Union. The NYCLU was working with legislators to raise the profile of school safety in the mayoral control fight.
When Camara met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Silver showed him a copy of the memorandum’s renewal, Ofer said. The paragraph-long agreement was signed by Bloomberg and Klein on Jan. 22, 2003, and does not include an expiration date.
The renewal contradicts information the City Council received during a 2007 hearing on school safety, where council members repeatedly asked whether any formal document existed to define the relationship between the city schools and the police department. (more…)
June 18, 2009
As the fate of New York’s school governance legislation shifts to the Senate, groups advocating for language that would curb the mayor’s power are left to weigh their options.
Initially, many hoped that the bill passed in the Assembly would contain fixed terms for members of the Panel for Educational Policy, or would prevent the mayor from appointing the majority of the panel’s members. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s bill that sailed through the Assembly on Wednesday did neither.
Yet groups like the Parent Commission and the Campaign for Better Schools remain optimistic that the bill that is eventually enacted will look different.
Some opponents believe that they’ve oddly benefited from the Senate meltdown. With the Senate Republicans saying they’ll support Silver’s bill, Democrats there could perceive going along with the Speaker’s bill as capitulation, the opponents reason. Instead, opponents hope Democrats will seek to distance themselves from the Republican position by offering amendments to the bill. (more…)
June 16, 2009
ALBANY, NY — One branch of the state government is functioning today. Lawmakers in the Assembly pushed Silver’s mayoral control bill through the ways and means committee this afternoon, readying the bill for a final vote tomorrow.
The bill immediately passed with no discussion. At least three Assembly members voted against Silver’s plan, including Mark Weprin and Jeff Aubry of Queens and Deborah Glick of Manhattan.
Aubry said he was concerned that the bill did not place fixed terms on members of the citywide school board and that it gives the mayor a majority of the appointees to the Panel for Educational Policy. Both he and Glick are supporters of the “Better Schools Act.”
Tomorrow, the Assembly will vote on the bill, and even its most vocal critics agree that its passage is guaranteed.
UPDATE 2 (from Elizabeth): Billy Easton of the Campaign for Better Schools points out that nothing is final, even if the Assembly bill passes. “Tomorrow is an Assembly vote on their initial proposal,” he said. “That does not mean that that’s the final vote that they will take on this matter. We have to see what unfolds.” Easton added that lobbyists for the campaign are meeting with members from both the Assembly and the Senate.
Exactly how negotiations between the two houses will unfold, however, is almost impossible to figure out. Anna reports from Albany that she only persuaded one senator to talk to her about mayoral control today — and his response was to say, “It can’t stay the way it is,” and walk away laughing. (more…)