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Topics in the News:
Around the UFT | September 8, 2011 >>
With the city Education Department announcing layoffs of some 800 support staff, including school aides, parent coordinators, lunchroom workers, bus coordinators and others, UFT Secretary Michael Mendel joined City Councilman Charles Barron, Assemblywoman Inez Barron and nearly a dozen other Council members in decrying the budget-cutting move at a press conference on August 30 outside DOE headquarters. Mendel (speaking at the podium) called the targeted workers “part of a foundation that supports and makes schoolchildren feel safe. Rip out a part of that education foundation and the whole structure topples.” Critics of the layoffs said savings could better come from eliminating consultant contracts, and that cutting support staff would disproportionately affect workers and schoolchildren in high-needs areas. The event was called by Local 372 of District Council 37, which represents the lion’s share of the workers being laid off. No UFT member was laid off.
The city Department of Education announced on July 17 that it was permanently ending the schoolwide performance bonus program which had been in effect for three years.
No layoffs! The victory, after weeks of cliffhanger budget negotiations and literally hundreds of protest actions by concerned parents and educators, was sweet indeed for teachers who can now close up their classrooms with the knowledge that they’ll see their students again in September.
Though teacher layoffs were averted — a huge victory in the current fiscal climate — and the City Council restored some funding on the chopping block, Teacher’s Choice was suspended for the coming school year in the final budget voted on June 29.
Despite the good news on teacher layoffs, school budgets for next year were not spared. They will be cut an average of 2.43 percent next year, Chancellor Dennis Walcott told principals on June 27.
Press releases | July 28, 2011 >>
The appellate division of New York State Supreme Court on July 28 declined to rule on the allegations in a lawsuit filed by the UFT and a coalition of community groups and parents on Jan. 5, 2010 that the New York City Department of Education was misusing hundreds of millions of dollars in Contract for Excellence funds earmarked for smaller class sizes.
Agreement between DOE and the UFT will help secure $65 million in federal funds for struggling schools
Press releases | July 15, 2011 >>
Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott and UFT President Michael Mulgrew on July 15 announced an important agreement that will help secure up to $65 million over the next two years in federal School Improvement Grants, a U.S. Department of Education program that provides funding to help transform our nation’s struggling schools. The funding will go to implement either “restart” or “transformation” at 33 city schools identified by the state as persistently lowest achieving (PLA) and therefore at risk of being closed.
Press releases | June 24, 2011 >>
An agreement reached by New York City and the UFT will ensure that no New York City public school teacher will be laid off in the next year, Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and UFT President Michael Mulgrew announced on June 24.
News | June 24, 2011 >>
Chinatown’s voice joined the chorus of tens of thousands of phone calls, faxes, demonstrations and other successful efforts that helped avert 42,000 teacher layoffs.
Around the UFT | June 23, 2011 >>
Educators and parent leaders from Brooklyn’s PS/IS 180 and PS 231, the District 75 school with which it shares space, held an early-morning “Black Friday” protest against budget cuts and layoffs on June 17 as part of the ongoing series of “Fight Back Friday” demonstrations at schools around the city.
The construction trades unions added their muscle to the fight against budget cuts and layoffs in the public sector when they rallied at Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza and then marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall in the early afternoon on June 15 in what organizers called a “Solidarity March for the Middle Class.”
A new report released by the Center for Arts Education paints a grim picture for children, given Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts to arts funding in the schools and to the number of teaching positions in the arts.
About 1,000 members of the UFT and 1199 SEIU marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on June 14 to join a thousands-strong labor rally at City Hall, protesting Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts and layoffs. One of several public-sector union leaders to speak at the rally, UFT President Michael Mulgrew condemned the mayor’s plans.
Scores of Brooklyn parents, concerned about all their children stand to lose if the mayor’s threatened budget cuts and layoffs go through, joined the staffs of PS 503 and 506 in a Black Friday demonstration at their schools on June 10.
President's perspective | June 23, 2011 >>
It’s been a hell of a year. Despite the many battles and the constant barrage of attacks on teachers, we are standing tall and standing strong as we near the end of it. But it’s not over yet. Layoffs of thousands of teachers, which would do irreparable harm to our children and devastate our own families, are still on the table.
Continuing their battle to stop the mayor from laying off teachers and cutting child care and after-school program funding, a group of parents and community members gathered at City Hall on June 16 to deliver a petition on seven 50-foot scrolls signed by more than 20,000 New Yorkers telling Mayor Bloomberg and City Council members to invest in school improvement, not cut programs or personnel.
Four hundred Brooklyn parents, teachers and children from nearly a dozen neighboring schools converged on Grand Army Plaza on June 10 for a spirited rally to protest threatened teacher layoffs and budget cuts. Many carried signs reading “Cut testing, not teachers,” which quickly became the day’s dominant chant.
A group of Brooklyn teachers, chapter leaders and UFT representatives met on June 7 at a local diner with City Councilman Vincent Gentile to make sure he understood the severe problems facing overcrowded District 20 schools and how much more severe those problems will become if the city lays off 4,200 teachers and cuts another 1,500 teaching positions.
Children from the Hamilton Madison House and Chung Pak day care centers gathered at City Hall — alongside dozens of child care providers, day care center workers, parents, politicians and faith and community leaders — for a June 7 press conference denouncing the mayor’s proposed $51 million cut to city funding for child care.
Few New Yorkers know just how hard the city’s family child care providers work. Two of those who do know, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, highlighted providers’ hard work for all to see when they lent a hand as part of the UFT’s “Provider for a Day” event on June 9.