UFT Prez: End Mayoral Control Early (Web Exclusive)
UFT President Mike Mulgrew was in Albany yesterday to testify at the joint legislative hearing on education, and got an earful from state lawmakers – particularly Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan, who was furious about the union’s failure to reach a teacher evaluation deal with Mayor Bloomberg by the Jan. 17 deadline, costing the district hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid.
Nolan lectured Mulgrew about the need to get back to the negotiating table ASAP and stop short-charging NYC school kids, who, at the end of the day, are going to pay the price of funding lost because adults who are supposed to be more responsible and mature weren’t able to put their differences aside.
At the hearing, Mulgrew managed to keep his cool in the face of Nolan’s wrath, but also reiterated his oft-repeated claim that the mayor is lying about the circumstances surrounding the failed pre-Jan. 17 talks. (Basically, the union insists there was a deal and the mayor walked away, and the mayor rejects that claim, saying it the union didn’t really want a deal and made unrealistic demands).
But during a CapTon interview on his way out of town, Mulgrew upped the ante in his war of words against Bloomberg, suggesting that if the mayor isn’t able to work with the UFT to meet new terms laid out by state Education Commissioner John King, then he will ask state lawmakers to end mayoral control of the NYC school system early. (It is scheduled to sunset in 2015, long after Bloomberg is gone from City Hall).
“I don’t want to see any district lose money,” Mulgrew told me. “I’m in Albany every year advocating for school funding. This is something I take very seriously. I asked at the hearing today, I said: Direct New York City to take it out of central bureaucracy. You know, there’s other ways to do this right now.”
“We don’t want to lose any more money, which is like a major issue for us, because now February 15th, Commissioner King has put this issue in play where we have to have a training plan put together and submit it into SED.”
“…If the mayor refuses to even do that, then I’m going to have to go to the Legislature and say: We need to get rid of the current governance of the New York City School system. We can’t wait two more years for that to sunset. Because if he won’t even put together a plan with us to train people, and risks losing more money, then it’s just reckless.”
Mulgrew would likely find a sympathetic ear among the Senate Democrats from NYC, many of whom are not big Bloomberg fans and have made clear in the past that they’re not happy with the way mayoral control has worked out. (They did, however, vote to reauthorize it back in 2009.
Other than that, however, it’s highly unlikely that ending mayoral control early would be a proposal that receives serious consideration in Albany – a lot of consternation for not very much payoff, since it’s already scheduled to sunset anyway.
This whole discussion might be moot anyway, since Mulgrew confirmed the UFT and the administration have agreed to start teacher evaluation talks again, although there was no set schedule as of late yesterday afternoon.
“In the middle of this, we have figured out a way to try to get our talks moving again, because it’s got to be about the kids…I’m hoping the politics can be set aside. I’m not sure,” Mulgrew said.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on January 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm, and is filed under Downstate NY, Education, Labor, Michael Bloomberg, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|