Governor Cuomo has a big decision to make concerning New York City, but he also has a huge deficit to fill, roughly 10 billion dollars. It concerns Mayor Bloomberg, not to mention NYC parents, because the Governor has not yet clued in the Mayor or schools chancellor Cathie Black regarding the city’s budget proposal and it may force a mass layoff of thousands of teachers.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Bloomberg may have to make definitive cuts if funds do not come in:
“Scuttlebutt is that the education budget will be cut statewide, and New York City’s share of that would be a billion dollar cut,” says Bloomberg.
If the governor proposes a $1 billion cut and the Legislature approves it, the mayor estimated the city would be forced to cut 15,000 teachers, most of which would be accomplished through layoffs. That’s on top of plans, outlined by the mayor in November, to cut 6,166 teachers in the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The current state tenure rule mandates that the most recently hired teachers will be the first to endure layoffs. It’s estimated that “every teacher hired during the last five years would be let go if the state moves forward with a $1 billion cut in aid to city schools.”
Perhaps, the most troubling aspect of an already disturbing story is that the tenure rule means the city will “have to part company with some of the best teachers.” And because new teachers are typically employed in communities that are struggling the most, these layoffs would “disproportionately hurt the schools with more minorities,” says Bloomberg.
Our schools are already in bad shape. I can’t imagine losing 21,000 teachers. If anything, we need 21,000 more teachers. A deficit this large that looms on the city, and so many other American cities, is never an easy task. But surely, there has to be other city agencies that can stand to suffer the cuts more than our schools.
What a country focuses on and improves upon are the things it values most, and if we keep ignoring the state of our schools, even worsening the problem, it will be clear that our leaders do not value our children. It will ultimately be up to Bloomberg and Cuomo to decide.
The budget proposal is set to be unveiled next week.