New York mayor says his renewal program has helped a dangerous school turn things around

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NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday visited his third struggling high school this month to promote his Renewal Schools program to boost school performance with extra support such as after-school programs and Saturday classes.

De Blasio said Brooklyn's Automotive High School had become one of the city's most dangerous campuses but suspensions are down 47 percent compared with last year and the two most serious classifications of violent incidents are down 33 percent.

As he did at earlier visits to Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn and Richmond Hill High School in Queens, he touted his plan to help the 94 renewal schools improve instead of closing them.

"We are working every single day to deepen the progress happening on the ground at schools like Automotive," de Blasio said. "We're ensuring they have the right leadership and the support they need to turn around and deliver the education these students deserve."

De Blasio, a first-term Democrat, spoke as the city awaited action from state legislators in Albany on issues including school funding, raising the cap on charter schools and continued mayoral control of city schools.

"Mayoral control works. The jury came back a long time ago," de Blasio said. "There's no debate here. It's time for Albany to renew mayoral control."

Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz, who has fought with de Blasio over the role of charter schools in the city, said earlier Wednesday that she agrees with him about mayoral control.

"I do support mayoral control, despite my differences with this mayor," Moskowitz said at a talk hosted by the law firm Cozen O'Connor and the New York Observer.

Also on Wednesday, schools Chancellor Carmen Farina outlined the city's education priorities at a City Council committee hearing and said schools have progressed but "we know we have a lot of hard work ahead."

Farina said the mayor's 2016 preliminary budget includes $21.6 billion in operating funds for education and $5.5 billion for education-related pension and debt service funds.

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