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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Public Advocate Bill De Blasio To Cathie Black: Cut The $$ From Consultants

Public Advocate Bill De Blasio has said in a letter to schools chancellor Cathie Black that the city should avoid teacher layoffs by nixing raises for computer consultants.

This request makes total sense to everyone but the NYC DOE.
Public Advocate De Blasio has plan to save some teaching jobs: Forget hike for consultants

BY Rachel Monahan, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER, Sunday, March 6th 2011, 4:00 AM

The city should save 300 teachers from layoffs by canceling its plans to increase payments to high-priced computer consultants, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio urged Saturday.

In a letter to Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, De Blasio recommended also looking for other cuts to avoid increasing class sizes in city public schools.

"There is nothing more important for our children's education than keeping teachers in the classroom," he wrote.

The Daily News reported Friday that the agency is planning to increase its budget for the technology contracts next fiscal year by 86%, or $24 million, while planning to lay off 4,600 teachers.

De Blasio noted that class size is already on the increase and suggested there were other ways to save teachers.

"The department should examine its administrative budget to identify any superfluous spending that could be used to prevent teacher layoffs," he wrote. "Freezing all nonessential expenditures, such as this contract, is without doubt the right place to start."

Average class size in elementary school rose by 4% this year, official figures show.

Faced with a $4.6 billion budget gap, Mayor Bloomberg has argued state budget cuts to education require blanketing the city with pink slips for teachers.

Bloomberg has pushed for Albany to change the state's last in, first out law, which requires that the newest teachers in the city be laid off first.

Critics have said the mayor is playing politics, just threatening layoffs just as he did last year, when there are other ways around the budget shortfall.

A bill that instead required first laying off city teachers with unsatisfactory ratings passed the Senate last week, but the Assembly has no plans to introduce it. Governor Cuomo is supporting a teacher evaluation measure that would not immediately change the law on layoffs.

The teachers union and other advocates have been pushing for Albany to extend the so-called millionaires tax to prevent the teacher layoffs.

City Education Department officials insisted last week that the increase in its budget for technology contracts simply was a result of more accurate budget projections.

The agency expects to spend $52 million by June, not the $28 million budgeted, officials said.

But in a deal with City Council in January, Bloomberg agreed to cut $4 million from the agency's tech contracts in order to save city firehouses.

Education Department officials declined to comment Saturday on De Blasio's letter.

Filmaker michael Moore says that there is money, it's just not going where the general public - poor and middle class - want it to go:

Michael Moore: America Is Not Broke