Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Unions "Blast" Bloomberg On "Scare Tactics"

This is the kind of story that the unions have to get into every media outlet in the city - that Bloomberg is using the layoff threats as scare tactics to get what he wants on the seniority issue, that he has CREATED this supposed layoff crisis for political reasons.

Here is the how the Daily News covered that angle:

The principals union head blasted the mayor Monday for "scare tactics" and "playing games with our children" by threatening to lay off 4,600 teachers.

Joining the teachers union at a press conference, he accused City Hall of putting jobs on the line to pressure Albany into changing rules that say the least experienced teachers are laid off first.

"There is no need to lay off anyone with a $3.1 billion budget surplus," said Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan.

City officials say the unexpected surplus in this year's budget can't be used to avoid layoffs because it must be used to plug a projected $4.6 billion hole next year.

The city released an estimate of which schools would lose teachers under the seniority rules - known as last in, first out.

Because some schools have more new teachers, they are targeted for more layoffs but would be allowed to fill some of those those slots with more senior teachers.

Some teachers and principals say the seniority dispute is obscuring the fact that the system can't handle so many layoffs, no matter how they're parceled out.

"Layoffs are going to cause chaos either way," said Beverly Logan, principal at Public School 156 in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

"I already have class sizes over 30, and my budget shrinks every year."

Parents are fearful.

"It's ridiculous that anyone's talking about laying off teachers when our class sizes are already so large," said Tina Glover, mother of an eighth-grader at Columbia Secondary School in Harlem, where more than half the teachers are at risk. "I don't understand how anyone can do this and look at themselves in the mirror."

The city estimates each teacher costs $65,000, which means 4,666 proposed layoffs would save about $303 million.

The mayor says that's necessary to close a budget gap caused by cuts from Albany, though he won't rule out layoffs even if the state coughs up cash.

"If somebody were to come through with $1 billion, that would give us the money to close the deficit and to have money to keep those teachers - if that's the decision we wanted to make," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.

Education advocates say the layoffs can be prevented by extending the "millionaire's tax" on the wealthiest New Yorkers, due to expire this year.

Keeping it would bring in $1.1 billion next year and an additional $3 billion the following year.
OK, lots of good stuff here.

First, we get both the teachers and the principals union saying that layoffs are being used as a political threat to get seniority rules changed, that this is a ginned up crisis by Bloomberg.

Next, we get that the city has a $3.1 billion dollar surplus and doesn't need to do layoffs.

After that, we hear that no matter how 4,666 layoffs are accomplished, the system cannot handle that many - class sizes are ALREADY too big, especially since the DOE has cut thousands of teachers over the past few years through attrition.

Then we hear that the 4,666 layoffs will save $300 million dollars - a drop in the bucket considering the mayor has spent nearly $800 million for the CityTime project, the CityTime crooks STOLE $80 million alone, and the city offers tax breaks to rich condo owners like A-Rod that costs the city $900 million a year alone.

Heck, the state can leave the millionaire's tax to sunset but cut the property tax abatement for people like A-Rod and STILL bring in enough money to not only keep the 4,666 teachers on the job but have an extra $600 million left over at the end.

Bloomberg says the layoffs have to happen because there is no money to make up next year's shortfall.

Well, I just found him an extra $900 million - enough to keep the teachers on the job and have $600 million to use for the next fiscal year.

But Bloomberg doesn't want to raise taxes on rich people - not income taxes, not property taxes.

Even when the property taxes are so low that a guy like A-Rod is just paying $1,200 a year for penthouse spread that should cost him $60,000 a year in tax (and would cost that if it were you or me who owned it.)

Now we're starting to see the unions get the important points of this battle into the press - that Bloomberg is PURPOSELY bringing these layoffs threats to the public to try and get pressure applied to the unions to change seniority rules, that he is FULL OF SHIT when he says he doesn't have the money to keep these teachers on and that he is a hypocrite for supporting all of these budget cuts when he refuses to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires even in instances where they barely pay any taxes at all.

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