The Assembly Prepares, Warily, to Consider the Senate’s Schools Proposal

ALBANY—The State Senate's chapter amendments to the school governance bill will get a fair–if firm–shake in the Assembly, several members said.

"In my crystal ball, none of the rubric of what they have suggested, I wouldn't expect, will be a problem with my colleagues," said Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, a Manhattan Democrat. "But the devil is always in the details, and until we see what those are, it will be difficult to say."

Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, a Bronx Democrat who was one of that chamber's strongest proponents of mayoral school control, said he won't vote for the amendments because he doesn't think a parent training academy is a good use of money. He still expects they'll pass. Most others I spoke to are at least open to entertaining the idea of discussing the Senate's amendments, as Sheldon Silver was quoted Monday, in a closed-door conference.

"I always took the view that the Senate is an independent body that had a right to take a look at the school governance issue and add or subtract what they thought would be important. I never held it against the senate that they didn't just accept the Assembly bill in total," said Assemblyman Rory Lancman, of Queens. "But that goes both ways. I don't think the Assembly is necessarily obligated to accept and reject what the Senate has added."

He said all of the amendments dealt with "legitimate areas." Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat said there was a "very slow, tedious, and time-consuming process" already.

"We conferenced it extensively, and we came out with a work-product that I voted for," he said. "I think that the senate….we played a game on Sunday and the Senate is taking it up on Monday morning. They're in a better position to be critical about what we did. But at the end I think at the end we have to come to some kind of consensus, and we will."