6,100 Teachers. Looks like Bloomberg wasn't bluffing, but will the Council stand up to him?
Historically, layoffs are often threatened as a budgetary bargaining chip.
In other words, the mayor basically yells what amounts to “fire” in a crowded theater, and more often than not, the money surfaces from the State or Washington, and the bad news is avoided. (layoffs in this case)
However this time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not bluffing, and for the first time since the 1970’s, public school teachers are looking at pick slips. A loss of 6,166 teachers, including an anticipated 4,100 layoffs.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew had this reaction blasting Bloomberg. "Same smoke, same mirrors, same attempt to blame others for his decision to lay off thousands of teachers, despite increased state aid, hundreds of millions in new revenues and a surplus that has grown to more than $3.2 billion."
Perhaps Mulgrew makes a good point that the Teacher layoffs are not necessary, but that’s not stopping Bloomberg. Of course the $65.72 billion budget will change before it wins approval from the City Council, but these are tough times, and for city residents it’s almost “pick your poison.” Among the bad news, the mayor’s budget also calls for a 12 percent cut to the city's libraries, the closure of some city swimming pools and the loss of 20 fire companies — a step that even the fire commissioner admits will slow firefighters' response times.
The mayor is putting the blame for all of this on cutbacks handed down by state and federal legislators, and on what he said was a national movement against funding government efforts.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other elected officials said in a statement that they have "grave concerns" about teacher layoffs and would recommend alternative cuts to those proposed by the mayor.
Well, we are about to find out just how much the council is willing to stand up to the Mayor.
Bloomberg and the council must agree on a balanced budget by June, and with the high school graduation rate, while it’s up, but not even at 60 percent, perhaps cutting teachers is the last thing we should do.
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