Give the mayor control of city schools
by Peter Vallone
Jun 15, 2016 | 7930 views | 0 0 comments | 261 261 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I served as speaker of the City Council for 16 years, and together with Mayors Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani, tried unsuccessfully to regain control of our own city children in our own city schools.

I also ran for governor of the Empire State and travelled to remote cities like Plattsburg – literally only a few miles from Canada - who knew as much about how to run our schools as we do about theirs.

In the 27 years I served as a local member of the City Council, it was truly frustrating to have to go to Albany and beg for money from State legislators from similar faraway places in our huge state, many of whom believed and still are convinced that we are responsible for their money woes and problems, forgetting completely that New York City supplies billions of dollars of our own money to them, far more than what we receive back.

It was further inconceivable for them to understand why it cost billions more for us to run a system serving more than one million children than for them to run their entire school system serving a few thousand at a cost of only a few million.

“Waste and inefficiency” they claimed, further adding to our frustration.

Thank god Mayor Michael Bloomberg was able to overcome this absurdity by successfully regaining control of our children’s schools.

Unfortunately, politics rather than good government is sadly re-emerging. The effort to deny Mayor Bill de Blasio the ability to continue his predecessor’s progress is both wrongheaded and spiteful.

It is time for elected officials to forget their political affiliations and remember why they were elected – i.e. to represent all the people – and pledge themselves to serve the people, not their parties.

I urge all city residents to contact their respective State legislators to support Mayor de Blasio’s simple demand to do the right thing for all of our children.

Peter F. Vallone is the former speaker of the City Council.

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