Reporting Rich Lamb
NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880/1010 WINS) — In an effort to take a big bite out of the Big Apple’s budget deficit, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling for massive cutbacks and thousands of layoffs — including teachers.
Politicians usually like to sugar coat the bad news, but not Mayor Bloomberg. Maybe that’s because he knows that with the economy’s failure to recover there’s even more bad news around the corner.
“Nobody should think this is going to be feel-good time,” Bloomberg told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
It was probably the understatement of the day for the mayor, who after all, is faced with cutting the budget for the ninth time.
The massive cutbacks include:
* More than 10,000 jobs eliminated over the next 18 months.
* Some 6,100 teachers will be getting pink slips — 4,600 layoffs and 1,500 through attrition.
With 1,700 schools and 1.1 million students in the city it’s the teacher cuts that have upset a lot of parents.
“It’s a big problem. The schools are very crowded and the classes are too large to start with so it could really hurt,” Staten Island mother Nancy Acampora said.
“The kids love their teachers. They go to school here and all the kids like their teachers and I think it’s going to effect their education,” added Allan Powell of Staten Island.
“I thought we had a deficit all ready of teachers. That’s just going to make things crazy unmanageable I think,” Craig Sidell said.
Teachers’ union president Michael Mulgrew is also unhappy.
“We’ve had 4,000 teachers less in the last two years than we have right now and that has caused a dramatic increase in class size and that’s not good for kids, not good for the parents, not good for the schools,” Mulgrew said.
The mayor has come up with a number of creative ways to save money:
* 20 fire companies will be closed overnight.
* More than 640 street resurfacing employees will be furloughed for one week, meaning 9,000 potholes won’t be filled
* Almost 1,500 parks department employees will be furloughed for three months in the winter.
When asked by Kramer how tough or how painful Thursday’s cuts were, Bloomberg said, “Well, if your services slow down or aren’t in the quantity you want it’s more painful than if it’s somebody else’s.”
Believe it or not Thursday’s cuts are just a mid-year budget adjustment. Many more cuts will be on the table in January when the mayor unveils his new budget for the year beginning July 1.
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