2009-07-03 / Top Stories

Who's Got The Con? Nobody Seems To Know

By Howard Schwach

Now that the state legislature failed to renew mayoral control of the city's public school system, who is in control?

The answer to that question depends on to whom you speak.

Several state legislators have said publicly that the deadline means nothing, that they can renew mayoral control next week, after the Fourth of July holiday.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who backs mayoral control, says that "a sunset law is a sunset law," and that control moves back to the disbanded Board of Education, which last ruled the system eight years ago.

The mayor reportedly called the five borough presidents late on Tuesday night, when it was clear that mayoral control had ended, to ask them to get ready to meet in emergency session on Wednesday to reconstitute the longdefunct board.

According to sources close to the controversy, the meeting of Borough Presidents is necessary in order to appoint Joel Klein as school chancellor so that the summer school program can move forward without disruption.

While district school boards still exist as a legal fiction, with an appointed district superintendent but little support staff, it was unclear on Wednesday as to whether they are back in charge of the schools in their district, rather than the cohort supervisors who have been in substantial charge of district schools for the past several years.

District 27 Superintendent Michelle Lloyd-Bay was not available for comment on Wednesday.

Pheffer, however, told The Wave laughingly that former District 27 President Steve Greenberg called to ask her if he were back in charge.

Mayor Bloomberg, in a prepared statement, said, "Come tomorrow, sadly, the lawyers take over in New York City schools. Every decision - from personnel decisions to policy decisions - will be subject to litigation and uncertainty."

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall issued a statement that she had a Board of Education candidate "on deck," but refused to identify that candidate.

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