Earlier in the day Sen. Monserrate was reported as saying he was reconsidering joining the new majority coalition and returning to his Senate Democratic conference. A couple of hours behind closed doors with the Republicans and Sen. Espada appear to have erased those second thoughts.
There is no sign yet that the Senate Democrats are giving up their fight to retain their majority.
Senate Democratic Press Secretary, Austin Shafran, earlier today released this statement:
"The Temporary President and Majority Leader, Senator Malcolm A. Smith, was elected to a two year term pursuant to a resolution passed by a majority of Senators in January 2009. The purported coup was an unlawful violation of New York State law and the Senate rules and we do not accept it. The Senate Majority is fully prepared to go back to the people's work, but will not enter the chamber to be governed by unlawful rules. We plan to file an action for a temporary injunction to enjoin the Republicans from illegitimately usurping authority from the people of New York."
At this point, if a court refuses to intervene and no more second thoughts emerge, it will be a new 32-30 majority in the Senate consisting of 30 Republicans with 2 Democrats, outvoting 30 other Democrats.
This story is not over, and it will hardly be business-as-usual very soon. The Senate plans for session to resume tomorrow. That will be interesting, to say the least. The one big issue the Senate must act on is whether the New York City Mayor can still run the city school system, as such authority expires June 30th.
About that $30 Million for Charters
The commitment by Sen. Malcolm Smith as majority leader to restore $30 million of the $50 million cut from 2009-10 charter school funding looks far less certain than it did last week. If this coalition holds and Sen. Smith no longer is leader, charter schools will have to focus on Gov. Paterson to implement this commitment as he also backed the restoration. Whatever happens in the Senate, Gov. Paterson is still Governor.
for The Chalkboard
Disclaimer: The Chalkboard is hosted by the New York Charter Schools Association (NYCSA) as a place where members, public education advocates and others can view and respond to informed commentary on timely public education and charter school issues. The views expressed here are not necessarily the official views of the NYCSA, its board, or of any of its individual charter school members. Anyone who claims otherwise is violating the spirit and purpose of this blog. To comment on anything you read here, or to offer tips, advice, comments, or complaints. please contact TheChalkboard.