The anger directed at Governor Kathy Hochul among education advocates is quite justified. Professor Diane Ravitch said Hochul is "double crossing the students, teachers, and parents of NYC" by not signing the bill to lower class sizes in NYC. Hochul is also double crossing the State Legislature by signing the bill extending mayoral control of NYC schools while not signing the companion bill to lower class sizes. The bills were supposed to be a package.
From the NYC Public School Parents Blog:
Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters said, “The fact that the Governor signed the Mayoral control bill without signing the bill that would require him to reduce class size at the same time is particularly outrageous. There can be no accountability without smaller classes for NYC kids, which the State’s highest court said were needed to provide them with their right to a sound basic education under the State’s constitution. Smaller classes are also the top priority of K12 parents nearly every year on the DOE’s own surveys, and the class size bill passed 59-4 in the State Senate; 147-2 in the Assembly. It is particularly outrageous that the Governor has chosen to renew the Mayor’s control unconditionally, just at a time when he is slashing the budget for schools, causing class sizes to increase rather than decrease and students to lose critical programs and services.
NY government can be very strange. The margins were 59-4 in the Senate and 147-2 in the Assembly. By my simple math, that is way over the 2/3 margin needed to override a governor’s veto or pocket veto if the Legislature is not in session.
From the NY Senate webage:
While the Legislature is in session, the Governor has 10 days (not counting Sundays) to sign or veto bills passed by both houses. Signed bills become law; vetoed bills do not. However, the Governor's failure to sign or veto a bill within the 10-day period means that it becomes law automatically. Vetoed bills are returned to the house that first passed them, together with a statement of the reason for their disapproval. A vetoed bill can become law if two-thirds of the members of each house vote to override the Governor's veto.
If a bill is sent to the Governor when the Legislature is out of session, the rules are a bit different. At such times, the Governor has 30 days in which to make a decision, and failure to act ("pocket veto") has the same effect as a veto.
Instead of groveling before Governor Hochul to sign the class size bill, education activists should mobilize Legislative leaders to get back in session to have that override vote if Hochul refuses to sign the bill.
Legislators showing a backbone on behalf of NYC school children more than likely won't happen so we will see mayoral control continue while our imperial Governor takes her time to decide if she should follow the will of the people's representatives and sign the bill to lower class sizes in NYC.