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Bloomberg Warns More Teacher Layoffs Likely if State Cuts Aid

Friday, January 28, 2011

The city may have to cut an additional 10,000 to 15,000 teaching positions if the budget Governor Andrew Cuomo unveils next week includes deep reductions in education funds, Mayor Bloomberg warned Friday.

"I don't know if it's true or not but scuttlebutt is that the education budget will be cut statewide, and New York City's share of that would be $1 billion dollar cut," Bloomberg said during a weekly appearance on WOR radio.

Bloomberg was already planning to eliminate 6,000 teaching positions this fall because of the city's own financial difficulties and the end of federal stimulus dollars.

The Governor's budget will be unveiled on Tuesday.

Bloomberg used the threat of layoffs to urge the state legislature to end the "last in, first out" rule that requires the city to let go of its most recent hires first during budget cuts.

He speculated that a cut of $1 billion would mean losing all teachers hired in the last four to five years. The teachers union has fought to keep this job protection for senior employees, arguing that they'd otherwise be the first to go because they make more money.

Bloomberg also called for ending a $12,000 annual holiday bonus for retired firefighters and police officers their unions support. He said the savings could be used to prevent teacher layoffs but the state legislature would have to approve such a change in benefits.

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Comments [9]

Alex from Brooklyn, NY

People need to remember that a person who goes into teaching is deciding to serve the public, the children, and the city / country. They're not looking to make millions, like the Hedge Fund / Wall Street in NYC. Yes teachers have good benefits. Yes teachers have pensions. Yes it is hard to fire some of them. But if New York City wants to keep attracting good talent into the profession, the public needs to understand more about the reason for these benefits. These benefits only exist because of organized labor fighting for equal protections under the law. Take a look at 19th Century/ Early 10th Century history and you will find just how bad it was to work at as a teacher in New York City. Same goes for any other worker (Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, anyone?). All the Union rules do is give teachers the right to a fair trial and hearing, under the law, as well as recognize the enormous amount of energy required to teach developing children and adolescents, five days a week. Yes, if you work in the private sector your boss can fire you for no good reason. Yes many people think public employees should live in the same boat. But just like anyone else in this country, teachers need to protect themselves. Contrary to the press, principals and administrators are not perfect judges or supermen; they are also complicated human beings, subject to pressure from above. The Union exists to protect its members from the whims of unstable students, capricious administrators, political mayors, and yes, even parents.

Furthermore: many teachers I know have multiple degrees, attend many professional development hours, and are highly committed to their jobs. Teaching is not a cut and dry set of actions on an assembly line or at a desk in front of a computer pushing buttons. It involves creativity, constantly changing environments and personalities, and demands from all sides. How come we never hear about THESE great teachers?

Mar. 01 2011 06:14 PM
JC from Brooklyn Heights

Sorry to say my experience with teachers is that many of the older ones appear complacent and do not work as hard to engage their students in the learning process. Call it apathy? I've worked with newer teachers that are excited about their work and whose positive attitude is infectious in the classroom. I've also worked with more experienced teachers that have used the same handouts/materials/etc. for the last 15 years and appear to be simply counting down the days until their retirement. Of course there are exceptions to every rule but I would not be surprised if I saw most "Unsatisfactory" grades given to older "experienced" teachers.

Mar. 01 2011 05:25 PM
tomas tortilla from SAN DIEGO CA.

LET THE RIGHTOUS RIGHT FOLLOW THROUGH ON THEIR AGENDA.We should put up a fight ,but they know what is right.So let the chips fall where they may.The voter spoke in 2010 now let them speak 2012.whats up bay?

Mar. 01 2011 10:58 AM
Leslie Upchurch from West New York NJ

Teachers are so important. I believe having huge classes due to fewer teachers will impact quite adversely on the NYC economy! Freeze salaries or ask the union to consider pay cuts across the board so there are enough teachers to keep the classes from getting too big. THINK!

Feb. 08 2011 07:55 PM
Brunild from NY

Administrators are going after senior teachers and rating them with a U to comply with the mayor's agenda in getting rid of senior teachers based on the rating which is of course based on seniority. How many senior teachers are being rated as such after this has become the political agenda of the nation. This is blatant age discrimination toward civil servants who work very hard to serve the immediate community and nation. What a shame!

Jan. 30 2011 11:20 PM
billie from Astoria

I just want to let people know that this radio station receives money from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. This is why they never fully report the truth about what is happening under Bloomberg/Klein administration. I always wondered why Beth Fertig's reporting was so poor. It's too bad, I really love this station.

Jan. 30 2011 12:39 PM
Joe from Long Beach

Bloomberg consistently equates senior, experienced teachers with poor teaching practices which is unfair and untrue. How about laying off the high priced consultants and trimming the administrative jobs at Tweed and the District/Regional Offices first? I see the salaries for these positions posted on the NYCDOE website and many of those salaries are a lot higher than teacher salaries. Furthermore, these positions are not necessary during lean times.

Jan. 29 2011 10:36 AM
Francis from Brooklyn,NY

NYS teachers have been quietly and conscientiously performing their duties in these challenging economic times. They have not played games lihe the Sanitation workers and MTA workers: (Christmas storm slowdown which crippled NY). Our president called on Tuesday for our nations teachers to be considered professionals whereas our mayor is using them as a pawn in his political battle with Albany. Is there a disconnect here?

Jan. 29 2011 09:46 AM
kayla from ny

So will he lay off students too? Why do they ever talk about cutting principal pay? Why do administrators get off the hook, but teachers always get the knife? No one ever discuss this problem is badly performing administrators in schools. It's ok for administrators to pressure teachers to pass the failing children, but the teachers end up getting burn when children score poorly on state tests.

Jan. 29 2011 08:34 AM

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