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Voicing 'no confidence' in Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC principals union calls for state takeover of school reopening

By Clayton Guse and Shant Shahrigian, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK - New York City's principals and supervisors union on Sunday approved a vote of "no confidence" in Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza over their "failure" to ensure safe reopening of schools.

The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators called for the state Department of Education to take over the school reopening process.

"During this health crisis, school leaders have lost trust and faith in Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to support them in their immense efforts and provide them with the guidance and staffing they need," said CSA President Mark Cannizzaro. "Quite simply, we believe the city and DOE need help from the State Education Department, and we hope that the mayor soon realizes why this is necessary."

The stunning rebuke came after the city twice delayed school reopening amid staffing shortages and as in-person is slated to return to city elementary schools Tuesday and at middle and high schools Thursday.

The city Education Department on Friday struck a deal with the United Federation of Teachers that allows teachers without any in-person responsibilities to work from home. The agreement also allows teachers to apply to work remotely if they live with family members with vulnerable health conditions.

The last-minute deal leaves too few teachers to make good on de Blasio and Carranza's plan to have separate teaching staff for students learning in-person, remotely and a mix of the two, Cannizzaro said.

"We've been calling out the staffing shortage all summer long," said Cannizzaro. "Some students may be coming in on Tuesday and working with someone who's not their permanent teacher."

De Blasio's office and the city Education Department did not immediately answer requests for comment.

 

City Education Department spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said in-person learning is still on schedule to return this week - but did not address the CSA's concerns over staff shortages.

"We'll continue this work to guarantee a safe, healthy and successful opening for all," said Barbot. "This week, more kids will be safely sitting in New York City classrooms than in any other major American city."

Over the summer, the union representing teachers threatened a strike over concerns that the city wasn't ready to safely reopen.

But Cannizzaro indicated Sunday that wasn't on the table for CSA.

"A job action is even a more egregious step than what we took," he said during a phone call with reporters. "I feel it would do little to anything to help the situation. I think it would be a disingenuous type of move."

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