ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that he will make the choice to re-open schools, taking the decision away from individual localities across the state.
Governor Cuomo is using a new law passed in March that gives him nearly total control of New York state and local laws during this, or any crisis.
The governor said it’s his decision whether or not to reopen schools before the end of the school year.
“It is my legal authority in this situation yes. That’ why when I closed them, we closed them state wide, it was not just New York city that we closed. We closed at that same time, the island and the northern suburbs and the we coordinated all of upstate,” said Gov. Cuomo.
At the start of this crisis the legislature passed a law giving the governor the power to;
“..temporarily suspend [specific provisions of] any statute, local law, ordinance, or orders… of any agency during a state disaster emergency…”
It was county executive Adam Bello that made the annoucement K-12 schools were closing, but as COVID-19 has grown throughout the state, he responded with this statement saying;
“Monroe County consulted with the superintendents of all 22 Monroe County school districts and we collectively decided to close schools on March 16, 2020. While it appears unlikely they will reopen during the 2019-2020 school year, we will continue to jointly monitor this unprecedented closing and do what is necessary to protect our community. A decision on when we reopen our schools will be made collaboratively with the input of Monroe County, our school districts and New York State.” County Executive Adam Bello.
Rochester School board president Van White says he believes the state is taking a more forward approach.
“The governor does have the right to do that, he do have immense powers and one can only conclude by the fact that he has been doing this incrementally and no body has been taking issues with it, that he does in fact have the authority,” said Van White, Rochester City school board president.
“I think he felt that given those numbers that he had to rest control away from the locals and make some decisions centrally from New York,” said White.
New York city mayor Bill Deblasio said before the Governor’s press conference on Satruday, city schools would remain closed for the rest of the year.
The Governor saying that decision however isn’t up to the mayor.
“There’s has been no decision. That’s the mayor opinion. I value it… but the decision will be coordinated among all of them,” said Gov. Cuomo.
Van White want to see the governor use his power to assist schools in another way, White is asking the governor to make funds through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Act available to school systems throughout the state like Rochester, to help deal with the fallout from COVID-19.
“There’ a shortfall that we have just from lunch alone. Our children, we have to feed our children during this crisis where’s that money gonna come from, “Said White.
“It can come from the governor’s emergency education relief Act. And what that does is that provides specif dollars to local school systems like Rochester to help us deal with the fallout from COVID-19. I am pleading to the governor to access that money,” said White.