Because firing people on a Friday leaves less chance for an "incident," 672 city school employees were let go yesterday in the single largest layoff since Mayor Bloomberg took office. All were school aides, parent coordinators, or family workers that acted as liaisons between teachers and the families of students, and were fired due to tightened budgets. According to the Times, the workers "are among the city's lowest paid," with school aides making $14 an hour and parent coordinators working for a $35,000 salary, or what it costs to wallpaper one of the mayor's dining rooms.
School chancellor Dennis Walcott blamed the workers' union, District Council 37, claiming that they would "not work with us" to make cuts to save the jobs, despite the fact that the union proposed to give up paid holidays and slash the number of hours in a workday. Those who were spared received a letter stating, "Please note that going forward, there may be a second round of layoffs." Reassuring! The teachers union joined a rally for the workers in front of city hall yesterday, and secretary Michael Mendel said, "If it takes a village to raise a child then these people are certainly part of that village. And no one is going to convince me that they couldn't find the money to save them."