Big Apple, Big Cuts

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Inside classroom
Nora Flaherty

New York City schools slash more than 700 jobs.

Dozens of employees in school districts across the five boroughs were slapped with pink-slips, ahead of the holiday weekend.

As more than 700 New York City school aides face layoffs, education advocates are calling the cuts outrageous. Union members from District Council 37 gathered at City Hall on Friday, arguing that the cuts only hurt low-income schools.

Cliftonia Johnson, who just lost her position as an attendance coordinator, says students need people like her.

"The health aides, the school aides, the parent coordinators; we are the resource. We are the first line of defense and offense for these parents and for these students," Johnson explains.

Another rally attendee, Regina Dudley, also lost her job as a parent coordinator and doesn't know what's next.

As Dudley explains, "All I'm asking for is some type of resolution. I'm willing to go back and do anything. But I just want a job so I can be self-sufficient and take care of my children."

Meanwhile, officials say the cuts were necessary to help balance the budget and save the city nearly $35 million dollars.  Schools chancellor Dennis Walcott says while it's not an ideal situation, tough times call for sacrifices.

"Schools will have to adjust. I mean, we're in a tight budget period right now. So schools will have to adjust, and I'm confident in our principals and our staff to make the appropriate adjustments," says Walcott.

On Tuesday, the New York City Council will hold a special hearing on the cuts.

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