ALBANY—School governance legislation is in trouble.
A meeting last night between Senator John Sampson, the Democratic conference leader, and Senators Bill Perkins and Shirley Huntley with Deputy Mayors Kevin Sheekey and Dennis Walcott did not go well, a Democratic source said. Depending on the outcome of a Democratic conference scheduled for noon, the legislation might not be acted on. Some senators remain stridently opposed.
"That Assembly school governance bill is not a negotiated bill. It's DOA. City Hall is not a fourth branch of government," Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, just told me by phone. "Let's put it this way—to the extent that I can influence, I think they're going to hear the strong positions of the conference itself. We should be able to control the active list. Since we're in charge of the active list, then we have to bear a responsibility for what's on it."
The bill is not on an active list posted this morning. Austin Shafran, a Democratic spokesman, said "that list is not inclusive of all the bills that will be acted on today. More can be added.
"That's up to the members to decide," he said of the school governance legislation. "The importance of the issue hasn't diminished. But members of the conference still have some concerns of whether or not there will be enough measures to increase accountability and parental input."
Republicans were hoping to act on the school governance bill that already passed the Assembly. Democrats have proposed amendments to that bill, but some favor its passage. One of them, Senator Daniel Squadron, is on his honeymoon and will not be in session today.
"It's my understanding that that issue will come up today and tomorrow," Senator Tom Libous, a Binghamton Republican, told Fred Dicker on his radio show. "There's votes in our conference and some votes in the other conference, I suspect once it hits the floor it will pass. I don't see that issue as controversial."