YONKERS, N.Y. -- City Council President Liam J. McLaughlin and his colleagues on the City Council called on Friday, Jan. 17 for passage of a home rule request creating a Department of Education in the City of Yonkers.
"I have been a long-time proponent of establishing a Department of Education in the city," McLaughlin said in a statement. "The Board of Education has been operating as a separate entity for too long and it just doesn't work. With the lack of mayoral control and council input into education in our city on issues from Common Core to improper accounting of state aid, our kids are getting left behind."
Members of the council said they would draft a resolution calling for the state Legislature to pass a home rule request creating a Department of Education in Yonkers under mayoral control. Similar measures have been introduced in the state Legislature for other big five cities such as Rochester and approved for New York City.
A special joint meeting of the City Council's Budget and Education committees has been called for Tuesday at City Hall to discuss the $55 million deficit the school district faces after submitting two consecutive budgets that relied on revenues from state aid which never materialized.
"Having served for four years on the Council I recognize the need for us to have tighter oversight of the school budget," Majority Leader John Larkin said in a statement. "Therefore, I would be in support of creating a Department of Education under the control of the Mayor and the City Council to create greater transparency and accountability for taxpayers."
According to the Center for American Progress, mayor-controlled districts have seen increases in student achievement.