Eric Lane, Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service, appeared in the following NY1 News report.
City Prepares For School Board’s Possible Return
By Grace Rauh
June 24, 2009
As the chaos in the State Capitol shows no sign of improvement, city officials are quietly preparing for the very real possibility that Mayor Bloomberg’s control over city schools will come to an abrupt end next week. NY1’s Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Only weeks ago, the idea that Mayor Bloomberg would lose his grip on the education system seemed a remote possibility. But with the Albany circus still in town, it looks increasingly likely that the old Board of Education could be resurrected as early as next week.
“The worst scenario for us, would be create a situation where nobody is in charge. The left hand is not talking to the right hand. The only people who will get hurt in all this are our school children,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
To avoid that, Stringer — who would get to appoint a member of the board — is trying to figure out how to make a smooth transition to the old, discarded system.
NY1 exclusively obtained a copy of a draft memo circulating in Stringer’s office, which explains what would happen if the current law expires at the end of June.
It calls for close consultation with education officials to ensure that schools continue to operate without interruption. It also says there needs to be transparency as the city revives the Board of Education.
“I have never been more concerned about the direction of the school system, than I am at this moment,” said Stringer.
Meanwhile, the mayor’s chief Democratic rival, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, is also weighing in.
“To not do anything, as we get closer and closer, starts to border on irresponsible,” said Thompson.
Although the mayor has publicly said that there is no backup plan in place, administration aides tell NY1 that they are now focusing on what it would mean for the board to suddenly return.
“For a while, they will probably follow whatever the mayor wants, but over time it will turn into the same irresponsible, chaotic, corrupt system it was before,” said Hofstra Law School professor Eric Lane.