Jamie Dimon, Barry Diller Demand Continued Mayoral Control of Schools

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo: Julie Jacobson-Pool/Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo: Julie Jacobson-Pool/Getty Images)

A coterie of the city’s business elite are demanding the State Senate and Assembly extend mayoral control of public schools for at least three years.

The Partnership for New York City, an advocacy group representing the city’s business leaders, sent a letter to State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today urging them to reject a bill that would extend mayoral control for only a single year.

“Maintaining mayoral control of city schools is critical to students, parents and employers who all depend on high quality public schools,” said Kathryn Wylde, the president of the Partnership for New York City. “Mayoral control has created a better, more transparent governance system than existed in the past–attendance has improved, graduation rates are up, and students are performing better on tests. The results clearly demonstrate that mayoral control is working and should be continued.”

Heavyweights including Jamie Dimon, the chairman of JP Morgan Chase, Jeffrey Wilpon, the senior executive vice president of the New York Mets and media mogul Barry Diller signed the letter.

Mr. de Blasio is seeking to make mayoral control of public schools permanent. But Albany, which has the power to renew or end the city’s control of its schools, has not been cooperative with the liberal mayor. The Republican-controlled Senate last night passed a bill, likely to fail in the Democrat-controlled Assembly, that would allow only a one-year extension and increase the number of charter schools. (Mr. de Blasio wants to keep the charter cap in place.)

Mayoral control is set to expire in June.

The mayor traveled to Albany yesterday to plead his case. He secured no commitments from the State Legislature and traded barbs with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat and occasional antagonist.

In New York City, elected officials universally support an extension of mayoral control, begun under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg more than a decade ago. Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent and billionaire, showered his own cash on the Senate Republican majority, ensuring that city control of schools was easily renewed for as long as seven years.

Mr. de Blasio, who sought to return Democrats to the majority last year, has a far more hostile relationship with Republicans. He is leaning on Mr. Heastie and Assembly Democrats to shepherd his agenda into law. (The Assembly recently passed a three-year extension.)

The liberal mayor has not always had an easy relationship with the more conservative city business leaders, but he is also hoping their clout–which Republicans also rely on for campaign donations–can sway the Senate. Few in the public or private sector support a return to the old decentralized Board of Education, an institution viewed by many as dysfunctional.

View the full letter below:

“Dear Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie,

We write to urge bipartisan collaboration to resolve pending education issues before the end of the current legislative session. We strongly support extension of mayoral control of New York City’s public schools, preferably permanent extension, but for at least three years. Failure to enact this extension before the end of June will throw New York City’s public education system into chaos. There is no justification for exposing more than a million students to the turmoil that would result from the expiration of a system that has served our city well for thirteen years.

Back in 2001, the Partnership for New York City worked closely with legislative leaders to design the laws that replaced a dysfunctional and highly politicized system of central and community school boards with a governance system that holds the Mayor accountable for running the city schools. There is no question that mayoral control has led to far more transparency and better management of education resources than previously existed. Student outcomes – better attendance, improved graduation rates, improved performance on tests – all demonstrate that mayoral control is working and should be continued.

We also support expansion of the number of charter schools that can be established in New York State, but suggest this expansion should be approved on the merits, rather than as a political trade-off for mayoral control. Charters offer a quality education to many children whose options have been poor. Charters have proven to provide a great laboratory for innovation in public education.

As employers of more than a million New Yorkers, we urge you to act now to end the uncertainty about the future governance of our city schools and extend the current mayoral control law as well as expanding the number of charter schools.


Lee S. Ainslie, III, Managing Partner, Maverick Capital
Candace K. Beinecke, Chair, First Eagle Fund & Chair, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Stephen Berger, Chairman, Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC
Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman & CEO, Aetna Inc.
Jeff T. Blau, Chief Executive Officer, The Related Companies, L.P.
Kathy Bloomgarden, Chief Executive Officer, Ruder Finn, Inc.
Adam M. Blumenthal, Managing Partner, Blue Wolf Capital Management
Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express Company
Creighton Condon, Senior Partner, Shearman & Sterling
Philippe P. Dauman, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.
Todd C. DeGarmo, Chief Executive Officer, STUDIOS Architecture
Barry Diller, Chairman & Senior Executive, IAC
James Dimon, Chairman & CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Blair W. Effron, Founding Partner, Centerview Partners Holdings LLC
Joel S. Ehrenkranz, Partner and Co-Founder, Ehrenkranz Partners L.P.
Thomas W. Farley, President, NYSE
Laurence D. Fink, Chairman & CEO, BlackRock, Inc.
Winston C. Fisher, Partner, Fisher Brothers
Alan H. Fishman, Chairman, Ladder Capital Finance LLC
William E. Ford, Chief Executive Officer, General Atlantic LLC
Russell P. Fradin, Chief Executive Officer, SunGard
Mark T. Gallogly, Co-Founder and Managing Principal, Centerbridge Partners
James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley
Jerry Gottesman, Chairman of the Board, Edison Properties, LLC
Jonathan N. Grayer, Chairman & CEO, Weld North LLC
Peter D. Hancock, President & CEO, American International Group, Inc.
Susan L. Hayes, President & CEO, Cauldwell Wingate Company
Marc Holliday, President & CEO, SL Green Realty Corp.
Glenn H. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Silver Lake
Brad S. Karp, Chair, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman & CEO, Alcoa Inc.
William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.
Rochelle B. Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
Pamela Liebman, President & CEO, The Corcoran Group, Inc.
Martin Lipton, Senior Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc.
Peter L. Malkin, Chairman Emeritus, Empire State Realty Trust & Chairman, Malkin Holdings, LLC
Robert D. Marcus, Chairman & CEO, Time Warner Cable Inc.
Donald B. Marron, Chairman, Lightyear Capital
Peter W. May, President & Founding Partner, Trian Partners
John McAvoy, Chairman, President & CEO, Con Edison
Charles R. McCall, Chief Executive Officer, Astoria Energy II LLC &, Astoria Energy LLC
Raymond W. McDaniel, Jr., President & CEO, Moody’s Investors Service
Edward J. Minskoff, President, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.
Mitchell Modell, Chief Executive Officer, Modell’s Sporting Goods
Thomas J. Moran, Chairman & CEO, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company
Deanna M. Mulligan, President & CEO, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
John Paulson, President, Paulson & Co., Inc.
Charles E. Phillips, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Infor
Charles C. Platt
Deirdre Quinn, President & CEO, Lafayette 148 New York
Mahadev Raman, Americas Chair, Arup
James D. Robinson, III, Co-Founder & General Partner, RRE Ventures
Michael I. Roth, Chairman & CEO, Interpublic Group
Howard J. Rubenstein, President, Rubenstein Associates, Inc.
William C. Rudin, Co-Vice Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management Company, Inc.
Kevin P. Ryan, Chairman & Founder, Gilt
Ralph Schlosstein, President & CEO, Evercore Partners Inc.
Alan D. Schnitzer, Vice Chairman and CEO, Business and International Insurance, The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Alan D. Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners, LLC
Tarek Sherif, Chairman & CEO, Medidata Solutions, Inc.
Tad Smith, President & CEO, Sotheby’s
Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman & Co-CEO, Tishman Speyer
Robert Steel, Chief Executive Officer, Perella Weinberg Partners LP
Arthur P. Steinmetz, President & CEO, OppenheimerFunds, Inc.
Steven R. Swartz, President & CEO, Hearst Corporation
James S. Tisch, President & CEO, Loews Corporation
Charles Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer, EisnerAmper LLP
Christopher J. Williams, Chairman & CEO, The Williams Capital Group, L.P.
Jeffrey S. Wilpon, Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, New York Mets
Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City
Strauss Zelnick, Chief Executive Officer, ZelnickMedia Corporation”