Beth Fertig is WNYC’s Contributing Editor for Education. She previously covered politics, which included City Hall during the Giuliani administration, and the U.S. Senate campaigns of Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. She also covered transportation and infrastructure.
Senate Republicans Set to Vote on LIFO Bill
Monday, March 14, 2011
Senate Republicans are expected to vote on a revised bill Tuesday ending the law requiring new teachers to be the first ones out during layoffs in New York City.
The bill would accelerate a new evaluation system for teachers across the state, which Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to start this fall instead of being phased in over two years.
But with Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying he needs to lay off more than 4,600 teaches because of budget cuts, the bill also provides an interim system. It says the city and the teachers union will negotiate layoffs in a way that allows seniority to be just one factor among others. And it says a teacher's salary can't be used against him or her.
If the union and the city can't reach a deal three months before the start of the next school year, then the bill establishes several categories of teachers that would be laid off first. It starts with those who have two unsatisfactory ratings in five years — or one in the last two.
There's no word yet on whether Assembly Democrats would go along with the bill. A previous Senate attempt at killing LIFO was dead on arrival. The United Federation of Teachers, though, was skeptical.
"The minor tweaks in the Senate's new proposal do not make up for the same evasions of the collective bargaining process and inequities in the treatment of public school teachers that characterized the first bill," UFT president Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "Nor does this proposed legislation change the fact that, as Governor Cuomo and his staff have repeatedly noted, the city's budget situation does not require teacher layoffs this year."