The city should save 300 teachers from layoffs by canceling its plans to increase payments to high-priced computer consultants, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio urged Saturday.
In a letter to Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, De Blasio recommended also looking for other cuts to avoid increasing class sizes in city public schools.
"There is nothing more important for our children's education than keeping teachers in the classroom," he wrote.
The Daily News reported Friday that the agency is planning to increase its budget for the technology contracts next fiscal year by 86%, or $24 million, while planning to lay off 4,600 teachers.
De Blasio noted that class size is already on the increase and suggested there were other ways to save teachers.
"The department should examine its administrative budget to identify any superfluous spending that could be used to prevent teacher layoffs," he wrote. "Freezing all nonessential expenditures, such as this contract, is without doubt the right place to start."
Average class size in elementary school rose by 4% this year, official figures show.
Faced with a $4.6 billion budget gap, Mayor Bloomberg has argued state budget cuts to education require blanketing the city with pink slips for teachers.
Bloomberg has pushed for Albany to change the state's last in, first out law, which requires that the newest teachers in the city be laid off first.
Critics have said the mayor is playing politics, just threatening layoffs just as he did last year, when there are other ways around the budget shortfall.
OK, as pushback on Bloomberg's layoff plan, this is a start, but it does NOT nearly go far enough.
And that's part and parcel of who Be Blasio is - cautious, playing the moderate game, not stepping out too far against Bloomberg for fear the Mayor of Money turns his billions against him.
De Blasio OUGHT to be calling for a public review of ALL of Bloomberg's no-bid contracts and outside consultant dealings - both related to the NYCDOE AND to other city agencies.
As Comptroller John Liu has been revealing through audit after audit of Bloomberg's dealings, the Mayor of Money is wasting city cash like it was his own money.
Contracts are routinely costing ten times what the original budgeting was.
There is PLENTY of money in the city coffers to save teachers if only Bloomberg would stop handing it out to his cronies and consultants like Playbills at a Broadway show during a snowstorm.
It's great for De Blasio to SUGGEST Bloomberg curtail additional money to computer consultants and keep a few hundred teachers.
But this suggestion is does NOT go far enough NOR save enough teachers.
De Blasio ought to be calling for outside consultant cuts that are large enough to save thousands of teachers.
Or better yet, he ought to be noting how much money Bloomberg wastes on contracts like CityTime - $770 million and counting - and point out that the city refuses to collect taxes on wealthy condo owners - a policy that costs the city $900 million a year - and state emphatically and explicitly how that money should be used to save teachers from layoffs.
In other words, De Blasio should be saying that Bloomberg is FULL OF SHIT when he says he has to lay teachers off.
When De Blasio acts like his own man and not some cautious politician afraid to anger his his Big Daddy, you'll let me know, yes?