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Cuomo Budget Could Mean NYC Layoffs, Officials Fear

by Sara Kugel
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Pete Dzintars, flickr

New York Governor Cuomo unveils his new budget Tuesday.

The $10 billion deficit projection has led New York City officials and various advocacy groups to worry about what’s on the chopping block in next year’s budget.

Mayor Bloomberg said New York City’s budget already includes the elimination of 6,000 teaching positions. If Governor Cuomo proposes cuts to education aid by $1 billion, Bloomberg said it could mean as many as 21,000 teacher layoffs.

Although the mayor is pushing to change the state’s teaching seniority law which protects the longest serving teachers from layoffs, he says a $1 billion budget cut would force him to cut every teacher hired in the past five years.

Bloomberg’s initial budget for the city will be due in one month.

A Quinnipiac University poll issued last week found 79 percent of those polled opposed cutting state aid to public schools. The Alliance for Quality Education considers itself part of that majority: That organization is calling for the state to continue higher income taxes for residents making more than $200,000 per year. The tax collects about $5 billion in annual revenue for the state.

“It is unacceptable for us to pad the pockets of the rich and not our students’ book bags,” said Communications Director Nikki Jones.

Mayor Bloomberg said he understands the “challenges” Governor Cuomo faces. “The polls that say the Governor shouldn’t touch education or Medicaid are a little bit unrealistic since those are 50 percent of the state budget, or some number like that and a very big percentage of the amount of moneys that are redistributed,” Bloomberg said at a press conference Monday.

According to 2007-2008 U.S. Census Data, New York spends $17,173 per student, more than any other state in the country.

Copyright 2011 WFUV Radio News

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