If Gov. Paterson's proposed budget is approved and Mayor Bloomberg is unable to negotiate pay concessions from the teachers' union, city educators may face significant layoffs for the first time since 1976. About 11,000 of the city's 79,000 teachers might be fired, and others might be shuffled around the city to different schools, the Mayor said.
According to the Times, the layoffs would likely be based on seniority, with newer teachers getting fired first. Mayor Bloomberg wants state legislators to allow him to implement merit-based cuts, though that measure is strongly opposed by the teachers' union. Bloomberg has said he might be able to avoid layoffs by giving teachers and principals raises of two percent for the next two years on the first $70,000 of their salaries instead of four percent raises on entire salaries, which the union wants. The union claims it can save the city $300 million without layoffs by initiating a retirement incentive plan.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says he will fight to stop Gov. Paterson's plan to cut $500 million in state funding, but he acknowledged that smaller cuts could still force the city to layoff educators. "People say can't you make any other cuts ... [but] we're going to have to make some personnel decisions because that is where the bulk of the money is."