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De Blasio Warned Cuomo of Divisive School Plan in a Text

Just a few minutes before he announced it publicly, sources say
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2020 4:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A few minutes before New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city's public schools will not reopen until the fall, he tried to call New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give him a heads-up. When he didn't get through, he sent Cuomo a text message, sources tell the New York Times. Officials from Cuomo's office got in touch with the mayor's office as the mayor was giving the news conference, insisting that de Blasio was not authorized to make that decision. And less than three hours after de Blasio's announcement Saturday morning, Cuomo publicly responded to it by noting that it's up to him, not the mayor, when the schools reopen. The Times notes the two Democrats have often butted heads, and that this is just the latest example of their ongoing "turf war" even as New York is in crisis.

Parents, teachers, school employees, union leaders, and other public officials have been confused and frustrated by the school year disagreement, and by Sunday, both the mayor and the governor had dialed it down a notch. While Cuomo still says it's up to him when schools reopen, the Times notes it's "highly unlikely" he would decide to do so before the fall. The paper offers a history of the Cuomo-de Blasio "squabbling," which started almost as soon as de Blasio took office in 2014 and has continued amid the coronavirus pandemic, with de Blasio calling for a shelter-in-place order days before Cuomo, who was at first not a fan of the wording, ultimately issued effectively that. De Blasio also called for widespread use of facial coverings as Cuomo pushed back against the idea. Axios reports that at his Sunday briefing, Cuomo said he wants to reopen the state "as soon as possible." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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