Assemblyman Keith Wright said the Department of Education’s plan to close the middle school at Wadleigh Secondary School of Performing Arts is the final straw that has convinced him to propose a bill that would repeal mayoral control of city public schools.
“People are up in arms. They are quite frankly tired of the dictatorial and despotic policies coming out of City Hall where they just arbitrarily and capriciously decide that they’re going to close schools,” Mr. Wright told The Politicker. “This is the Alamo as far as I’m concerned right now. This is the absolute Alamo and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Mr. Wright brought up the issue at fellow Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell’s town hall meeting on 147th Street Friday night where he described attending last week’s rally against the Wadleigh middle school closure.
“I made a rather emotional statement. I said that I am ready tomorrow or Monday to go up to Albany and to repeal mayoral control, because we have been through too much,” Mr. Wright said. “I’ve had enough of this mayor in so many ways and I’ve had enough of mayoral control of our schools. So, you may see a bill coming out of my office to repeal mayoral control very, very soon.”
Mr. Farrell said he would co-sponsor the bill and Councilman Robert Jackson, who also attended the meeting, said he would propose a Council resolution in support of the bill.
After the meeting, Mr. Wright explained to us why he opposes the Wadleigh middle school closure.
“This is a good school, it’s a school that was not failing. It had just received an ‘A’ rating no less than three years ago, and then, they took away well over a half-a-million dollars from the school. Thus, its rating went down to a ‘C,’” Mr. Wright said. “I have no doubt that the mayor wants to phase out the school and put in a charter school. I have nothing against charter schools, I just think they need to find their own edifices.”
Mr. Wright said he definitely plans to follow through on the plan to introduce a bill repealing mayoral control of schools.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The sooner, the better.”