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Sources: Cuomo Could Overrule de Blasio In Charter School Battle

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio is being pressured by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to settle his fight with charter school operators.

As CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported Friday, sources said the governor was threatening to settle the issue himself.

Cuomo was front and center when charter school operators took their fight with Mayor de Blasio to Albany. Now, sources said, he is trying to get the mayor to end the dispute – or else the state will do it very shortly.

"It's not about putting more money into the public school system. It's trying something new, and that's what charter schools are all about. That's why 50,000 parents are on the waiting list," Cuomo said at a recent rally. "Parents deserve a choice."

Sources told CBS 2 the governor wants the mayor to settle three lawsuits brought by charter operator Eva Moskowitz, find space for Moskowitz's three Success Academy charter schools de Blasio nixed, and restore $210 million in charter funding.

If the mayor does not act, sources said, Cuomo and the Senate will use the state budget to protect charter schools – finding them both space and money.

This all came as former Gov. David Paterson attacked de Blasio for being what he called "intellectually dishonest" in saying a tax hike on the rich was necessary to fund his major educational priority – universal pre-kindergarten.

"The plan that we put forward to tax folks who make a half a million or more for pre-K and after-school was based on very clear precedent," de Blasio said. "I believe that made sense all along. I still believe it's the single most sustainable revenue source."

So far, the mayor has agreed to find space for one of the Harlem Success Academy charter schools that enrolls nearly 200 students. He has defended his decision to deny the space to the others.

The problem is that with Cuomo in the pro-charter camp, de Blasio's hand could be forced, Kramer reported.

If the mayor refuses to go along, the governor would likely use the state budget to usurp the mayor's power and do it himself, and that would happen quickly since the state budget is due before the new fiscal year starts on April 1.

The mayor's only hope, Kramer reported, is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) refusing to go along with the governor.

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