Bloomberg's Teacher Layoffs Reduced, but Still Grim

Protesters outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, May 5th
New York City still stands to lose thousands of teachers due to city budget cuts, but the number has been somewhat reduced since the February figure. The mayor originally proposed to eliminate 6,100 teaching jobs through layoffs. Yesterday, it was announced that now 4,278 teachers will be laid off, but the city hopes to reduce the total number of teachers by another 1,500 through attrition.
Reducing the number of teachers, along with other city employees, is part of an effort to reduce the city budget by an additional $400 million. The city is facing a multibillion-dollar deficit for the fiscal year starting on July 1st, despite drawing heavily from city reserves. “Even that will not be enough to avoid layoffs of some city employees, including teachers,” said Bloomberg during an online news conference.
Mayor Bloomberg has come under a considerable amount of criticism for the cuts, which he argues are necessary to avoid raising taxes. According to The New York Times, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo feels the city has plenty of money to avoid the layoffs, yet Bloomberg says that a reduction in state-level funds allotted to New York City is part of the deficit problem.
Teachers unions and advocates staged a number of protests throughout the city yesterday. Some argue that the layoffs are political, and that Bloomberg’s real aim to reduce the power of teachers unions. “He says he is the education mayor who will bring education reform, but we hear day in and day out scare tactics about layoffs,” said Carlos Lopez, a United Federation of Teachers chapter leader. Lopez joined teachers, students and parents protesting on the steps outside the Bronx County Supreme Court building. Many are worried that underprivileged children stand to lose the most from the layoffs. “Most teachers laid off will be in the South Bronx,” said Lopez. “When we hurt teachers, we hurt children.”
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