Mayor Bloomberg's budget preserves cut of 6,100 teaching jobs

Mayor Bloomberg reaffirmed his plans to cut 6,000 teaching jobs in his budget address today and said that even if the state restores some funding, he will not promise use it to avoid teacher layoffs.

The budget for 2012 includes 4,100 teacher layoffs and the loss of an additional 2,000 teaching jobs through attrition. These job losses would amount to an eight percent decrease in the size of the teaching force — from 75,000 teachers down to about 69,000.

If the layoffs become a reality — threats in the last two years never bore fruit — it will be the first time since the 1970s that the city has laid off public school teachers. City officials have previously estimated that these layoffs will save the city roughly $300 million.

In his budget presentation today, the mayor blamed cuts to school spending from the city and state for the impending layoffs. In 2002, the city and state each covered roughly 50 percent of the city’s education costs. Next fiscal year, the state will contribute 39 percent and the city will fund the remainder. This year, the city has also lost $850 million in federal stimulus funding for schools.

The latest estimate of how many teacher layoffs are needed is down from projections released several months ago. In February, the city estimated that 4,675 potential layoffs would be distributed across its nearly 1,600 schools and the city’s different neighborhoods. Under this plan, more than half of all teacher layoffs would affect elementary school teachers.

A spokesman for the mayor, Marc LaVorgna, said the layoff estimates had changed because the city is now projecting that a greater number of teachers will leave the city through attrition.

“It’s based on all the available data we have at this time, such what information we’re getting from schools,” LaVorgna said.

He said that in light of the new layoff and attrition estimates, the city will have to recalculate how many teachers each school stands to lose under the “last in, first out” layoff law. The projections the city released in February are no longer accurate.

Today’s budget also includes planned job cuts to the Department of Education’s central office, all of which are through attrition rather than layoffs. In total, the job cuts in the central office as well as in the field services — people who help schools with things like budgeting and special education compliance — comes to 155 positions.