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Friday, January 15, 2010

Rochester School Board Member Van White Says "Wait A Minute!" Over Mayoral Control of the Public Schools

Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy
Hmmm....If what Mr. Van white is saying about New York State Constitution is true, then maybe there is an argument that New York City should not be given disparate treatment.

Here is the New York State Constitution in PDF

and: Disparate Treatment Law & Legal Definition

As you can see from a previous look at the Rochester School Board, (Rochester City School District Is Rocked By Scandal When Damaging Audit Information is Leaked to the Press) there are some financial issues that need to be looked at. I hope that Mr. White is addressing Mayoral control to help kids, and will not succumb to pressures from political othersto drop this issue.

Let's pursue this window of opportunity to undo Mayoral Control in NYC!!!

Betsy Combier

January 14, 2010
Mayor Duffy takeover of Rochester schools could face hitch
Nestor Ramos, Staff writer

New York's constitution could slow Mayor Robert Duffy as he attempts to gain control of the Rochester School District, school board member Van White said Wednesday.

A section of the state constitution, White said, requires a two-year process by which legislative changes to local government systems must be enacted.

White, a lawyer, shared his opinion in a letter to Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit (pictured above), copies of which he made public at a news conference at his law office.

"One of the things our legislators ought to be doing is complying with the constitution," White said.

Article IX, section 2 of the New York state Constitution outlines the process that must be followed before changing legal powers granted to local governments, including two votes in consecutive calendar years.

If White is correct, that means legislators would have to pass mayoral control for Rochester this year and next, with approval from the governor each time.

White said he was confident that his reading of the constitution was correct, but conceded that others may disagree.

A review of legislative action leading up to the decision to grant Mayor Michael Bloomberg control of New York City's schools in 2002, however, suggests the change was made after a single vote.

"If I'm wrong, I'll be the first to admit," White said, adding he's not planning or threatening a lawsuit.

Morelle said White is putting the cart before the horse.

"No one has drafted anything yet ... Whatever we draft will be consistent with state law in the constitution. We have an army of attorneys that will look at this," said Morelle, who added that he plans to be part of a long period of public input and deliberation before anything is passed in Albany.

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver declined to comment on whether Rochester's legislation would need two votes.

Duffy has indicated that he would like to see the framework of a plan for mayoral control in place for the start of the 2010-11 school year should lawmakers approve legislation this year. But he has also acknowledged that switching to the system — which would consolidate the city and school district under his control, eliminating the elected school board in the process — could take time.

Morelle said New York City's move to mayoral control required legislative approval only once, and Bloomberg took control that year.

"We haven't done anything that would violate (the constitution) and we certainly don't intend to," Morelle said.

"We're confident the governor did his due diligence last time," said Duffy spokesman Gary Walker.

With no legislation written, White "is creating hysteria, and nothing has happened yet," Walker said.

January 14, 2010

Mayor Duffy refutes Van White's assertions on school district takeover
Staff reports

Mayor Robert Duffy on Thursday refuted a Board of Education member’s assertions that the state constitution could slow a bid for the city to take over the Rochester School District.

Board member Van White on Wednesday said that Article IX, section 2, of the state constitution requires a two-year process by which legislative changes to local government systems must be enacted.

But Duffy said Thursday that argument is wrong.

“This article provides for home rule powers of local governments, which are counties, cities, towns or villages, not school districts,” Duffy said in a statement.