ALBANY—Diane Savino is one of eight state senators sponsoring a bill to restructure school governance and dilute the mayor's power.
But she has been quoted saying she supports the mayor appointing a majority of seats on the Panel for Educational Policy, which is not favored by opponents of mayoral control of schools, and which would be undone by the current bill. I called Savino to clarify.
"In the bill that we've introduced, there's an expansion of the board with legislative appointments, and I think that should be amended. I don't think we should inject ourselves into this because it becomes purely political," she said, somewhat testily. This bill is merely a "conversation starter," she said, and she signed on to prevent the conversation from being hijacked.
"We went through an exercise earlier this year with the M.T.A., where some members decided there would be no way they would support anything the M.T.A. put forth. And we wound up in a scenario where some members were able to force a bill that a lot of members weren't happy with. I'm not going to use this as an opportunity for some members to bash the mayor. This is not about politics or personalities," she said. "It's a real, live, proposal, as opposed to sitting back and watching other people coerce the majority leader into doing something that he doesn't want to do."
She also predicted things will go differently than with the M.T.A., given the Republican alignment with Smith behind mayoral control because "we start out with 30 votes in the bank on the other side of the aisle."
This makes two bills in a short period of time that Savino has co-sponsored that would do something she is on record as disagreeing with.