- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - In a rebuke to New York City’s mayor, state Senate Leader John Flanagan said Thursday that he continues to harbor doubts about extending a policy giving Bill de Blasio control of over city schools.

Saying he was unconvinced by de Blasio’s comments to a Senate panel this week, Flanagan said de Blasio “showed a disturbing lack of personal knowledge about the city schools” and “failed to provide specifics on many of the issues raised by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

“Until that occurs, I will not entrust this mayor with the awesome responsibility of operating the New York City school system,” he said in a statement Thursday.

De Blasio wants state lawmakers to extend mayoral control of city schools by another seven years. The policy, first implemented in 2002, will expire June 30 if lawmakers do not vote to renew it.

Last year they renewed the policy for only one year, forcing de Blasio to return to Albany on Wednesday to appear before the Senate Education Committee.

Flanagan said de Blasio has another chance to convince lawmakers when he speaks at a second legislative hearing on the topic May 19 in New York City.

A spokesman for the mayor said de Blasio looks forward to “continuing the discussion” about mayoral control. On Wednesday the mayor said local accountability on schools has improved student performance and allowed the school system to become more efficient.

“The successes of a school system with direct, mayoral accountability cannot be denied,” de Blasio spokesman Austin Finan said Thursday.

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