Formats for political debates must change.
The state has a 10 billion dollar budget gap, and as a result, Mayor Bloomberg just on Friday laid out a doomsday scenario where he says the city may be forced to slash 21,000 teaching positions.
It needs to be repeated, 21,000 teaching positions. We are talking about people that educate our children. People that are the only role models for many kids.
What did we get from that one general election debate, answers on how to deal with this fiscal mess. No, comic relief of “the rent is too damn high.”
How does Bloomberg come up with 21,000 teachers. Is he bluffing? It appears not. He even provided a formula: If Albany slashes education aid to the city by $1 billion, schools would be forced to lay off as many as 15,000 teachers. He also noted his own city budget plan recommends cutting an additional 6,166 teachers.
If state aid is cut by $500 million. The city would be forced to lay off 7,972 teachers, 11 percent of the 75,000-member workforce.
So again, is all of this real or just a political game? Posturing.
Normally, the budget dance is a game of chicken.
At this level, a governor threatens to cut the budget, and then the mayor or county executive announces cuts to popular constituent programs. Sensing the third rail of politics, the governor then backs away. How? The governor whose popularity nose dives runs away from his own cuts, or looks for cover for the legislature to restore the programs back or come up with the money to fund them.
But this time, the check is due. It appears the days of passing the buck, and taxing to the future are over.
This is a time, when all New Yorkers should be happy with the union for teachers, the UFT. They will fight each and every layoff, and if they win, it means our kids win because they get to keep their teachers. This time, the powerful UFT has it’s hands full because the union can also see the handwriting is on the wall.
If the money is not enough of a problem to deal with, there’s also the issue of how teachers will be let go. The mayor wants it done based on merit rather than seniority. In other words, this will open a major can of worms.
Just image this. Could you really see the NYC school system operating with 21,000 fewer teachers.
With this budget crisis, let’s look at it in ways everyone can relate too.
We can’t cover this one via credit card, or post date a personal check. It’s time to bite the bullet.
Jimmy McMillan may have stole the headlines at the debate with “the rent is too damn high,” but was the laugh really on us.