Legislative leaders reached an agreement late Wednesday night to extend mayoral control of New York City schools for two years but the final bills being printed included nothing for charter schools.
The text of the omnibus bill was released around midnight — and the Democrat-controlled Assembly began the process of voting on it in the early a.m. on Thursday.
Mayoral control was set to expire on Friday without the extension, which the Senate is expected to vote on Thursday.
State Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Long Island, did not get the increase in school charters he had sought but several Upstate initiatives sweetened the deal enough for his members.
But some legislators said lifting the cap on charter schools was as urgent as letting de Blasio retain authority over the city’s school system.
“It’s important to a lot of people. I think it’s something that could be dealt with and I think you have to have leverage to deal with it and if you give away the main piece that the New York City crowd wants, namely mayoral control, you don’t resolve some of these other issues,” said Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), deputy majority leader.
Gov. Cuomo gets to rename the new Tappan Zee Bridge he backed after his dad, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo.
The perks that made the package bearable for Republicans include greater retirement benefits for uniformed first responders injured on the job, a tax break for lower Manhattan real estate and a three-year extension of county sales taxes for both Upstate and New York City.
The city’s personal income tax was also extended until 2020. The taxes were set to expire this fall.
The package also includes several items that Senate GOP members, who are largely from Upstate, wanted.
Those sweeteners include up to $50 million in flood assistance for Lake Ontario, a loosening of land restrictions in part of the Adirondack Park and additional revenue for Vernon Downs, an Upstate racetrack that was ready to close.
The late-night momentum came after Cuomo summoned lawmakers back to Albany for a special session to address mayoral control after the legislature split last week for the summer without coming to an agreement on that issue.
Funds to fix the city’s flagging subway system became a hot topic following Tuesday’s A-train derailment but were not included in the package.
Sources said Cuomo would announce other assistance for the MTA on Thursday.
The Senate has to vote to approve the leaders’ deal before Cuomo can sign it and make it law.