Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, March 18, 2011

NY Times: Bloomberg's Teacher Layoff Predictions False

The numbers just don't make sense.

There used to be 82,000 teachers in NYC.

Now there's 75,000.

But enrollment is up.

Class sizes are maxing out.

I have 34 a class - 170 total a semester.

But Bloomberg says my school MUST lose 7 teachers to layoffs and 3-4 more through attrition.

He says 4,666 must go through layoffs, another 1,500 through attrition.

The Times looks at Bloomberg's numbers and finds them wanting:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been warning that 4,600 city teachers will receive pink slips this spring, as he pushes for legislation in Albany that would eliminate rules requiring that layoffs be based solely on seniority.

That number of layoffs will be necessary, the Bloomberg administration says, because budget cuts will eliminate about 6,100 teaching positions, and only 1,500 teachers will be lost due to attrition, the natural churn of teachers resigning, retiring, being fired or otherwise leaving their jobs.

But over the past two years, the city’s teaching force has shrunk by 2,000 to 2,500 each year through attrition, according to Department of Education statistics, suggesting that the city would need to lay off 500 to 1,000 fewer teachers than it has said.

Carol Kellermann, the president of the Citizens Budget Commission, an independent watchdog group, said the attrition estimate “struck us as low, based on historical norms.”

And the teachers’ union, which has fought dearly to keep seniority protections, called the city’s estimates part of a political game to scare people into backing an end to seniority.

“Thank God they are not standing in front of the pearly gates,” said Michael Mulgrew, the president of the union, the United Federation of Teachers. “They would all be struck by lightning.”

The questions over the layoff projections come as the city tries to both protect its newest teachers from what it says would be widespread dismissals and to squeeze as much money out of Albany as possible. It is also squabbling with the governor’s office over how much the state would cut in city education aid.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office says its proposed budget would reduce education aid to New York City schools by $579 million. City education officials, however, say that the cut is $1.4 billion, in part because they were counting on receiving hundreds of millions of dollars more from the state in the next fiscal year than they did in the current one.

The governor took issue Thursday with the idea that any teacher layoffs would be necessary. “When they say, ‘Well, we’re going to lay off teachers, and we’re going to hurt children’ — that’s basically the threat in this discussion, right?” Mr. Cuomo said Thursday at a news conference at the Capitol.

“I don’t believe it,” he said, adding that he thought that the state’s school districts could cut more administrative costs to avert teacher layoffs. The city has not yet projected layoffs for any education employees beside teachers but says they are under consideration.

The DOE of course says, Oh no, we MUST lay off teachers, all the administrative costs we can cut have been cut.

But as Juan Gonzalez points out in today's Daily News, Bloomberg has doubled spending on outside technology consultants to $10 billion dollars over the course of his administration.

Nobody knows what these outside consultants do because they budget the process through capital spending and don't have to make public actual numbers on the consultant contracts.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg continues to threaten layoffs that don't have to be done at all.

Here are the numbers of teacher who have disappeared over the past few years:

Between October 2009 and October 2010, according to Department of Education payroll numbers, 4,551 teachers left; the previous year, 5,027 departed. But roughly 2,500 new teachers joined each year, mostly in areas where the city was mandated to maintain staffing, like special education.

The resulting net loss has been about 2,000 to 2,500 teaching positions a year. Over all, the city, with its 1.04 million students, has a total teacher roll of 74,675 now, compared with about 79,896 in September 2008, city and union officials said.

Moving from there to the city’s latest projection of just 1,500 positions to be lost by attrition requires some math and budgeting choices. The most important is a question of timing. Education officials said this week that when they make layoff projections, they count only resignations and retirements that happen between June 1 and the first day of school in September, traditionally the peak time for departures.

This leaves out hundreds of teacher departures, and the savings that would result, the union says. Last year about 600 teachers left during the school year, for example, and 900 left the previous school year.

So we have two sets of jive going on here - one, the Bloomberg administration and the DOE are manipulating the layoff numbers for their own political ends. Cuomo says no layoffs need to be done, the union points out how many teachers have already been dropped from the payroll via attrition the past few years.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez points out just how much Bloomberg is handing to outside consultants on WHO KNOWS WHAT.

It all adds up to one thing - Bloomberg is a crook, his layoff threats ought to be turned back around on him and he MUST be called to account for all the outside consultant contracts.

You want layoffs, Moneybags?

Open the books on the consultants first.

Let's see what you're spending on these boondoggles.

1 comment:

  1. Can you send this Mayor of Accountability?