Bloomberg Spares Education Department from Budget Cuts

Marion Herbert's picture
Friday, February 3, 2012

For the first time in three years, New York City teachers are not being threatened with layoffs, “unless something dramatic happens,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, announcing his preliminary budget.

Last year, the mayor’s preliminary budget threw into question the jobs of 4,500 teachers, part of an effort to absorb large cuts from the state, as well as the end of federal stimulus funds. But as in 2010, the 2011 teacher layoffs never evolved beyond a threat, and were eventually taken off the table through negotiations with the city’s teachers union.

On Thursday, the mayor said that the city’s finances remained under stress, but while he has planned to cut money for other agencies, he is increasing financing for the city’s Department of Education. The city’s budget documents project the department’s total budget (including pensions and debt) increasing to $24.6 billion in 2013, up from $24.1 billion in 2012.

With the city’s fixed costs going up every year, it was not immediately clear what impact the increase in financing would have in the classroom. In fact, as has occurred for the last five years, the overall budget can increase while principals, who now manage their own budgets, are given less money for staffing and other expenses.

Ultimately, the budget must be approved by the City Council, which is expected to make its own adjustments to it.

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