While testifying before the City Council today, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott reaffirmed the need to layoff thousands of educators in an effort to reduce its 2012 education budget.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for eliminating more than 6,000 teachers through a combination of layoffs and attrition.
While testifying, Walcott said financial strains placed on the Department of Education have left them no choice but to include layoffs.
Gee, all the money thrown at the CityTime boondoggle, the hundreds of millions in extra costs that have come because the city failed to do proper oversight on the project and allowed it to run over by $700 million, all the money that they plan to throw into the tech budget next year, $550 million in spending, and yet Walcott can actually say with a straight face that fiscal prudence dictates they must lay off teachers.
The City Council wasn't buying his tale of woe, however:
Council members, though, say not enough has been done to save teaching jobs and reduce contract spending.
"You have still chosen to eliminate over 5,700 teachers. You have still chosen to increase contract spending by over $700 million and you have still chosen to increase central administration's budget by $15 million while cutting funding for schools by $325 million, that's a shame," said City Councilman Robert Jackson.
"As things stand today we still don't have enough money to underwrite all of our expenses. And with 70 percent of school budgets tied up in compensation costs we have little choice but to reduce the size of our workforce," said Walcott.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn released a statement earlier in the day outlining over $75 million in cost cutting measures for the DOE, including reductions in technology, transportation and press office headcount.
And neither was the IBO:
Meanwhile, the Independent Budget Office said today Mayor Michael Bloomberg might be overstating the number of necessary layoffs, in part, because of an underestimate on savings from attrition.
The IBO is projecting a total of 5,198 layoffs are needed; 2,571 through attrition.
And I can find the rest of the cost savings for Dennis and Mikey - simply cut the technology budget by $200 million or $300 million dollars, add the extra tech spending when the economy turns around in a few years, keep all the teachers you have plus add a few more to replace the ones who have left or are leaving.
See how easy that is, Dennis?
You just have to spend less on consultants and delay the dozens of new standardized tests you plan to add to the system by a few years, that's all.