Saturday, June 25, 2011
Mayor Bloomberg Raises The "White Flag" As He Surrenders On Teacher Layoffs Once He Failed To Eliminate " Last In, First Out" (LIFO)
Last night the Bloomberg Administration formally surrendered "with hat in hand" they came to the UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway and asked for whatever face-saving concessions the union could offer to rescind the proposed teacher layoffs. Our union gave up sabbaticals for the 2012-13 school year for a savings of $17 million dollars and will allow ATRs to become day to day subs for a savings of $43 million dollars. The total UFT concessions are $60 million dollars, a far less figure than the $376 million dollars he Bloomberg Administration insisted on to stop the 4,100 teacher layoffs. Of course as predicted by many of us, once Bloomberg lost on the seniority-based layoff issue known as "last in, first out" (LIFO), there were going to be no teacher layoffs. Bloomberg would never allow his small schools who are staffed by cheap, "newbie" and untenured teachers to be stripped of their staff. His ploy was to get rid of ATRs and highly-paid senior teachers by any means possible and since that failed, it was only a question of how the Mayor would wiggle out of his teacher layoff pledge.
Now that the entire City, including, the news media has seen that once again the Mayor did not follow through with his threats and that the teacher layoffs were only a ploy to get rid of expensive senior teachers, his lack of credibility is obvious to all. More importantly, the Mayor magically found another $170 million dollars of tax revenues. My my, like that money wasn't available all along! Furthermore, there are deeper undefined cuts out of the DOE central bureaucracy. However, the Bloomberg and Tweed technology budget appears to be unaffected from these cuts. Finally, the Bloomberg Administration will let the DOE send out school budgets on Monday to principals that appeared to have been held hostage by the budget standoff. Has Bloomberg lost creditability? You bet he has, even his closest allies see how transparent his threats to layoff teachers was and this episode will add to his woes as his popularity with the people of the City is at an all time low and probably going lower.
The real question is what did the union really give up? First, the teacher sabbatical concession for the 2012-13 school year was a very minor concession and easily given up for no layoffs. The other concession, the use of ATRs for day to day subs is more complicated. Presently, many ATRs were used as "free teachers" who fill vacant teaching positions and having full classroom duties without the schools picking up their salary. According to the agreed upon concession, ATRs will no longer be given teaching programs, unless the school picks up the ATR's salary and appoints them to the vacancy. If that is true, then this "concession" would actually pressure the principals to either hire the ATR for the vacancy or be stuck with a revolving door of weekly ATRs which would result in little student learning and parent complaints, not a healthy situation for all involved.
There are rumors that the Mayor's poodle, the Chancellor, Dennis Walcott, will instruct Tweed to make sure that, with the exception of Special Education" , that all vacancies be filled by the existing ATR pool (since they cannot get rid of them) to ensure the most efficient use of existing resources as those schools who try to hide their vacancies will be under increasing scrutiny to explain why as the DOE tries to save money. For example my previous post is a case in point It will be interesting to see if the DOE reallky does go after these principals that hide vacancies actually happens. This ATR concession can go either way, only time will tell.