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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “NYC To Layoff 4,666 Teachers Despite Rising Revenue”

    Feb. 17–BROOKLYN, N.Y. — More than 4,500 New York City public school teachers could be out of work after this school year ends, even though the city has taken in at least $2 billion more in revenue than it had anticipated in the last six months. That was one of many revelations revealed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he present his new budget Thursday.

    Teachers are the greatest casualty of Bloomberg’s proposed budget. It included laying off 4,666 teachers. Even though such a move would shortchange students, the mayor says he is not to blame. Instead, he points to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state budget as the culprit. Cuomo has proposed a $200 million hit to city education programs, and that could mean having to lay teachers off, particularly newer ones, a prospect that is not pleasing parents or students.

    “”They should make cuts at City Hall, not teachers,”” parent Nick Pastwa told PIX 11 News outside Middle School 51 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. HIs 7th grader daughter, Nikol echoed his sentiments. “”I have a Spanish teacher, I really like her,”” she said, while pointing out that the newest teachers are likely to be the first to go. “”She’s pretty young. I would not want to see her go.””

    The news comes despite city budget planners finding a lot more money in revenue than they’d projected last fall. At least $2 billion more has come from taxes, but not necessarily the taxes you’d expect. Income tax increases only account for 2.8 percent of additional revenue the city has gained. However, New York City has collected some 48 percent more in taxes from the many banks located in the Big Apple than it had anticipated, and 18 percent more in hotel taxes and 13 percent more in sales taxes.

    So why won’t the extra $2 billion save teachers’ jobs? You may not need to look past Governor Cuomo’s overall budget to get the answer. Albany faces a $10 billion budget deficit, and to help fill it, Cuomo has proposed an overall cut to New York City that’s roughly the same size as the extra revenue the city has discovered: $2.1 billion.

    Still, some teachers say the whole thing may be a sham. “”It’s totally smoke and mirrors,”” teachers union representative Anne Lipke said. “” thousand teachers leave after the first year. The mayor’s trying to pit new teachers against old teachers. His political goal is to break the union.””

    But Lauren Kaan, a sixth and seventh grade teacher, summed up the bigger picture. The mayor, an independent, will propose his budget to a Democratic City Council, which will undergo weeks of debate and change to the proposed budget, and will consider state budget changes before passing a very different final budget for the city. It’s the same process that’s been done in years past.

    “”I’m definitely concerned, Kaan told PIX 11 News, “”But I know we’ve had this kind of scare (of teacher layoffs) for the past couple of years, so you’ve got to let it go day by day.””

    To see more of WPIX-TV, go to http://www.wpix.com/.

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