The day before letters were expected in principals’ mailboxes listing teachers to be let go, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday he will avoid 4,400 layoffs by putting off raises scheduled for the next two years. United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, however, said there was no agreement to freeze teachers’ pay.
“Laying off thousands of teachers is simply not the answer,” said Bloomberg, who has blamed state education cuts for the proposed layoffs. “It would devastate the school system and erase much of the great progress we’ve made.”
Mulgrew praised Bloomberg’s reversal and agreed to join the mayor in lobbying Albany and Washington for more resources. But neither the UFT nor the principals union agreed to scrap 2 percent annual raises for teachers and principals.
“He does NOT have the power to unilaterally decide on the teachers’ contract, and we have reached NO agreement on his proposal to freeze teacher pay,” Mulgrew said in a statement.
Yet the budgets principals received yesterday — which include cuts of roughly 4 percent — are based on Bloomberg’s new plan.
The UFT is in mediation with the city to work out the terms of its next contract. The teachers’ last contract expired in October. Before the mayor’s call for a wage freeze, City Hall initially asked teachers to take a 2 percent raise — instead of the 4 percent raises given to other unions. The two sides next meet July 21.