Mayor Bloomberg emailed a statement to reporters this morning, announcing that his administration will eliminate a planned 2 percent raise that city teachers were to receive over the next two years.
“Laying off thousands of teachers is simply not the answer,” Mayor Bloomberg said in the statement. “So I have decided to eliminate the two percent raises we had planned for our teachers and principals in each of the coming two years in order to save the jobs of some 4,400 teachers.”
Mr. Bloomberg said that he had spoken to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, and that the two would work together to press the case for state and federal leaders.
The full statement:
“Earlier this morning in a conversation I had with United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, I shared our Administration’s solution to the State budget impasse that has left us facing the possibility of substantial teacher layoffs: it is far better for our children and our teachers to save the jobs of over 4,400 teachers, rather than layoff those 4,400 teachers while granting raises to others.
“A month ago, the City released our Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2011. It was based on the Governor’s proposed budget, which included huge reductions in State aid for education. We warned back then that if the State didn’t restore those cuts we’d be forced to lay off thousands of teachers. But yet another month has passed and the State Legislature has still not agreed on a final budget. Our schools simply can’t wait any longer. Principals are already far past the point in the calendar when they must plan for the upcoming school year, and they need to know what kind of resources they can count on.
“Laying off thousands of teachers is simply not the answer. It would devastate the school system and erase much of the great progress we’ve made – and all the hard work we’ve put into turning our schools around. There is simply nothing more important to a child’s education than a first-rate teacher. So I have decided to eliminate the two percent raises we had planned for our teachers and principals in each of the coming two years in order to save the jobs of some 4,400 teachers.
“Make no mistake: we’ve done everything possible to find cost savings, including substantial cuts in administrative spending. And we know that teachers and their families are facing tough times too, and that this will not be easy for them. But when it came to a choice between teacher raises or laying off teachers, I have chosen to protect our children and their futures. While other towns and cities around the country are closing schools and laying off teachers, our Administration is determined to do everything possible to keep our teachers where we need them: in the classroom.
“This was not an ideal decision, and it certainly does not solve all of our budget issues. In our conversation this morning, Michael Mulgrew and I agreed that we would go together to Albany and Washington to press our case to restore more education funding. Our City’s schools have come a long way in eight years, and we couldn’t have done it without our outstanding corps of teachers.”