NYC Budget Deal Averts 4K Teacher Layoffs, Firehouse Closures

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City lawmakers reached a budget deal Friday that will avert the layoffs of about 4,000 teachers and saved 20 city firehouses that were slated to close.

Friday night’s deal represented the final revision of the mayor’s $65.72 billion proposal that he issued in May. The handshake agreement must be followed by a formal vote before the end of the month, when fiscal year 2011 ends.

Part of the deal over teacher layoffs was reached through union concessions. The union agreed to cancel teacher study sabbaticals for one year and to place unassigned instructors in substitute teaching positions.

Officials also said the city won’t pay to replace thousands more public school instructors who quit or retire this year. Additional funds were found through administrative cutbacks at the Department of Education.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn gathered with city lawmakers and the head of the teachers’ union Friday evening to announce the roughly $66 billion deal.

A proposal to shutter 20 fire companies was also averted in the deal. In a statement, Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy thanked members of the city council for saving the firehouses.

“Closing any fire companies would have negatively impacted the safety of all New Yorkers.  2010 was the busiest year in the 145-year the history of the FDNY and the last 7 years have broken previous emergency response records,” he said. “The Mayor and Speaker Quinn’s announcement that the fire companies will not be cut shows that our city’s leaders heard what their constituents demanded.”

There have been numerous protests around the city since Bloomberg announced his original budget in May.

Dozens of rallies have taken place to save the 20 firehouses that were slated to close. Nearly 15,000 demonstrators marched over the Brooklyn Bridge earlier this month to protest the proposed closings. 

Teachers have also taken to the streets. Council Education Committee chairman Robert Jackson led a rally protesting teacher layoffs in front of City Hall and in May, the teachers union filed a lawsuit to stop the Department of Education from closing down 22 struggling schools.

“This is a budget that will keep our city strong, but it is also a budget that faces fiscal realities,” Bloomberg said at the late-night press event, which was interrupted several times by raucous protests from city residents upset by the proposed cutbacks. The group gathered outside the Department of Education building as officials spoke inside.

The administration had been negotiating with an umbrella group of city unions in the hopes of drawing on a union health care fund to save additional jobs, but those talks fell apart Thursday. The mayor said he anticipated more than 1,000 non-uniformed city workers would receive pink slips, but officials said they couldn’t yet say which departments would be effected.

What do you think of the new deal? Sound off below in our comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Concern,,,, & posts)

  • p

    50,000 Korean War National Museum supporters can use charity search engines.

  • Howie Sprague

    It’s frightening that Mayor Bloomberg even considered closing 20 more FDNY Fire Companies. He already cut the staffing on every engine company in the city and closed six fire companies. The fire department, which is the ‘first responder’ to all life threatening emergencies and is the first line of defense whenever the city is struck by a terrorist attack is already badly understaffed and short on units. Bloomberg clearly does not hold the safety of New Yorkers as a major priority.

    • Ed

      firefighters are the biggest was of taxpayers money.most of the jobs they respond to they end up referring to another agency(EMS NYPD). It should be downsized

  • Teach4Life

    Three years ago, you were 22 year old completing your education degree and ready to enter the profession. You’ve bounced around from school to school working as a “temporary substitute” and teaching out of license to assist the school in need. Now, you are 25, and still cannot find stability in the profession you chose. How long will you be able to wait for your carreer to begin? How many thousands more young bright people are turning away from the profession because of the inability of this city to embrace the teaching profession and give people who have the best interest of children in mind work in our schools? We should replace the retirees with young, vibrant people willing to educate our children. These “ATRs” floating around are not the cream of the crop, trust me.

    • JM

      An ATR is someone that gets excessed from their respective schools because of school seniority and budgetary issues. Some of the best teachers wind up in this position. This can happen if a school closes (because of redistricting), seniority, and many other reasons.

      Many of these ATR’s are experienced and seasoned teachers. It is scary how many teachers leave the city within the first couple of years.

      So I think it is…well I am not going to say exactly what I think…that a new teacher that faces the same challenges (if not more) will be this vibrant “ray of hope”.

      Of course, it is naturally very easy to bash the senior/end of career professionals in order to save some bucks, and there are some very credulous young professionals that would probably hop on board.

      But remember, we will all be in the situation of retiring and ending of our careers at some point, and lets think; do we really want this anti-senior sentiment to be around when we are ending our careers.

      These are people that have done an honorable and difficult task for roughly 25 years. They deserve the utmost respect. This being said, I am a young professional.

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