Not Quite A School Governance Compromise

ALBANY—Apparently nobody told State Senator Bill Perkins, a Harlem Democrat who has been outspoken in his criticism of school governance legislation that vests too much power in the New York City mayor, that his chamber will act on an Assembly-approved governance bill once a leadership dispute is settled.

"We haven't taken a count in deciding, clearly, where people are coming from,” Perkins told me by phone this morning. “Obviously, there have been some discussions in terms of that type of a bill, but no decisions, to my knowledge, have been made.”

Friday, I saw him in the Senate lobby speaking in an elevated voice about the issue on his cell phone.

I heard from a few other senators what the Post reported: that members of the Democratic conference in the chamber will vote on the Assembly's bill but are now planning a chapter amendment to increase parental involvement.

Last week, Senator John Sampson—a mayoral-control skeptic—said that he would like to "strengthen" the Assembly bill, and it seems this is the result. Still, the chapter amendment is not yet drafted. It's unclear whether it would be a face-saving measure for Sampson and others who took strong positions on school governance, or whether it will have more teeth.

Billy Easton, an advocate with the Campaign for Better Schools who has argued for diluting the mayor's role in school governance, said, "When there's a deal in the senate, there'll be a vote. And until there's a vote, no deal."