Hundreds Laid Off As Yonkers Schools Face Crippling Budget Crunch

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBS 2) — There’s high anxiety in New York’s fourth largest city, as Yonkers schools face crushing program cuts in a faceoff between the city and its teachers union.

The awful news was just beginning to sink in on Wednesday, like a painful blow to the body, as many Yonkers teachers realized they’re out of a job, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

“You don’t know what you’re going to do next year, you know? What do I do, what do I tell my children?” teacher Alisha Doran said. “How do you pay the mortgage? How do you pay the car bills?”

“It’s going to be scary. They’ve cut all extracurricular sports and activities, every counselor, social worker, psychologist was cut, 322 instructional staff members,” teacher Effie Koutros said. “I’m fearful what’s going to happen to these children.”

The Yonkers school system is in crisis, underfunded and out of cash – caught in a system seemingly without accountability.

“We’re not Scarsdale, we’re not Chappaqua, we’re not Mount Pleasant,” Patricia Puleo, of the Yonkers Education Association, said. “We don’t vote on our budgets.”

While people in most of New York State voted on school budgets Tuesday, Yonkers parents could only complain. Yonkers is one of five state school systems dependent, by law, on Albany.

Yonkers Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio was practically on his hands and knees asking for union give-backs just to survive.

“I’m begging,” he said. “We want to keep everyone working, and sacrifice is needed from everyone.”

Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, too, blames the state, but he believes the unions can help in the short term.

“We’re doing things out of the ordinary to try and save the education system for the kids,” Mayor Amicone said. “Do the same thing. You’re the teachers.”

A spokesman for the State Division of Budgets in Albany told CBS 2’s Lou Young that Governor Andrew Cuomo, too, seems to be pushing the unions back to the table for additional concessions. He said that’s part of the solution as an entire state adjusts to a grim new fiscal reality.

If no deal is reached, the Yonkers layoffs and cutbacks will become law when the city council adopts its budget early next month.

More from Lou Young
Comments

One Comment

  1. SUFFERING PARENT says:

    TEACHERS, SCHOOL PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES SHOULD BE THE LAST WAY TO SAVE MONEY..TAKE FROM THE CHILDREN REAL SMART..THE PROBLEM STARTS AT THE TOP BUT THE LITTLE CHILDREN AND TEACHERS AT THE BOTTOM HAVE TO SUFFER

  2. iggy says:

    everyone blames the unions. the pension money was there forever but the politicians spent it on something else and now it’s the unions workers fault. the senior teachers get seniority pay and i’ll bet every senior teacher is the problem and the new teachers are the experts. no one wanted these jobs before the wall street bubble burst and now it’s the union workers fault. it is the politicians fault. it is the republican way to blame the worker and it stinks. …

  3. iggy says:

    everyone blames the unions. the pension money was there forever but the politicians spent it on something else and now it’s the unions workers fault. the senior teachers get seniority pay and i’ll bet every senior teacher is the problem and the new teachers are the experts. no one wanted these jobs before the wall street bubble burst and now it’s the union workers fault. it is the politicians fault. it is the republican way to blame the worker and it stinks.

  4. John says:

    You do understand though, that if we eliminate tenure, you can fire those pesky “highly paid” teachers, and save some money. When districts across the country are facing problems like this, eliminating tenure is not the solution. And I’m all for paying more for good teachers, but that would require more funding. What we really need to do is reform the teacher evaluation process so those that are not doing their job can be shown the door. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am a teacher.

  5. richard Allen says:

    About Freakin time….. the idiot unions have to eliminate tenure….and pay more for good teachers.

    Even when i was in HS many many years ago we had teachers who did the minimum to get their pension, so this is not something new.

    1. Jake says:

      Richard,

      Tenure is a matter of state law. The union did not create tenure, nor does it grant teachers tenure. In fact, during the first 3 years of a teacher’s career, they are employed at will. If a bad teacher ends up getting tenure, it’s the fault of a bad PRINCIPAL for granting it. Before you start bashing the “idiot unions,” just remember that it’s only because of unions that you have any rights in the workplace at all. Next time, I suggest you keep your ignorant comments to yourself.

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