Parents have pressed the New York Legislature for years to mandate smaller class sizes. They are close to achieving their goal.

State lawmakers have struck an agreement on bills that would extend mayoral control of the New York City school system for two years and mandate reductions in public school class size.

State Sen. John Liu of Queens, who chairs his chamber’s New York City education committee, and Assembly Education Chair Michael Benedetto confirmed the deal Tuesday morning.

“As you can imagine, there were many parties to the negotiation,” Liu said in an interview with Gothamist. “At the end of the day – or I should say at the end of the night – the Senate and Assembly concurred with this pair of bills.”

Legislative leaders reached the agreement late Monday, introducing a pair of bills that will be ready for a vote Thursday – the last day of the Legislature’s annual session in Albany. The two-year timeframe is less than what Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul were lobbying for and is designed to give parents more control over school governance

Class Size

If passed, the class size bill could dramatically shrink classes, a move many parents and educators say is the key to improving public school students’ academic and social growth.

The new bill would cap kindergarten through third grade classes at 20 students; fourth through eighth grade classes at 23 students; and high school classes at 25 students.

That’s compared to current caps for kindergarten at 25 students; first through sixth grade at 32 students; middle school classes at 30 (for Title I schools) or 33 students (for non-Title I schools); and high school classes at 34 students.

The reduction would be phased in starting this fall, and would have to be complete by 2027. If the city does not comply, money will be withheld.

“If enacted I think it will be a sea change for New York City students and their ability to learn,” said Leonie Haimson, executive director of the advocacy group Class Size Matters. “These are really, really big class size changes, but they’re within our grasp.”

Haimson has been advocating for Class size reduction for many years. She has led countless rallies and organized parent actions. This act is a tribute to the power of parents.

The same bill will renew mayoral control for two years. Mayor Eric Adams had hoped for more. After two decades off mayoral control, it has lost its luster.