Principals Union Votes ‘No Confidence' in Mayor, Chancellor Days Before Schools Reopen

The union voted "no confidence" in New York City's top leaders and wants the state's education department to step in

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The union representing New York City's principals and other top school administrators delivered a "no confidence" vote for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza days before the majority of students opting for in-person learning were set to return to schools.

Alongside its vote, the union wants control over New York City schools to be under the purview of the state.

"CSA calls on Mayor de Blasio to cede mayoral control of the Department of Education for the remainder of this health crisis and for Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to seek the immediate intervention of the New York State Education Department," the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators wrote Sunday.

The vote comes a day after the union blasted de Blasio over an agreement announced late Friday that allows educators to work remotely if they live with family vulnerable to the coronavirus.

It was not immediately clear how this allowance would impact New York City schools already hurt by staffing shortages. The agreement made with teachers came four days before elementary schools reopen Tuesday.

"I think parents should be confident that any student that arrives at a building will receive the utmost care," Mark Cannizzaro, president of the principals' union, said on a conference call Sunday afternoon. Come Tuesday, he says, principals will still be at schools alongside teaching staff and supervisors.

It's back to the classroom for thousands of students in New York City schools -- although not all.Only pre-kindergarten and some special education students are scheduled to end a six-month absence from school buildings after a last-minute decision to postpone, for the second time, plans to be among the first big districts to resume in-person instruction after the coronavirus forced students and staff home. Katherine Creag reports.

Among the union's top concerns, Cannizzaro says, are decisions made by city leadership too close to the reopening of school buildings and without notification prior to the schools' administrators. Cannizzaro said principals were forced to make further last-minute changes over the weekend after receiving no prior information about the deal made with the United Federal of Teachers.

The last-minute scramble to fill schools has prompted some to change their plans. On Saturday, Tottenville High School on Staten Island announced an entirely virtual plan to accommodate students. Principal Battista said students will still be welcome into school this week, but all learning will be done virtually with staff providing supervision to those attending in person.

"For the past six months, we've worked with our labor partners to navigate completely uncharted waters and accomplish our shared goal of serving students this fall. We'll continue this work to guarantee a safe, health and successful open for all. This week, more kids will be safely sitting in New York City classrooms that in any other major American city - a testament to city leadership and our educators' commitment to their students, and the importance of in-person education," DOE Press Secretary Miranda Barbot said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

As of last week, 46 percent of New York City students have chosen all-remote, up from 42 percent the week prior.

The return to schools last week went forward without too many hiccups, but pre-kindergarten and special education students that returned make up a fraction of the nearly half million heading back later this week.

Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here's the latest tracking data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here


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