New York City may have to lay off 15,000 teachers: mayor

NEW YORK Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:32pm EST

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a news conference in New York, September 7, 2010. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a news conference in New York, September 7, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City might have to lay off 15,000 teachers if the state, grappling with a $10 billion deficit, cuts the city's education budget by $1 billion, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Friday.

The city has around 75,000 teachers and Bloomberg is already planning to lay off around 6,000 to help deal with New York City's deficit for the next fiscal year. In December, the budget director predicted the city's budget gap could rise to $4.4 billion, depending on state cuts.

Like many cities, towns and states, New York is struggling with the end of the federal stimulus program. The city is losing $800 million. This is why Bloomberg was already preparing to lay off so many teachers.

"The scuttlebutt is -- I don't know if it's true or not -- is that the education budget will be cut statewide and New York City's share of that would be a $1 billion cut," Bloomberg, an independent, told WOR radio.

The teacher layoffs could be higher, depending on what New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo announces when he unveils his budget plan on Tuesday. Cuts are expected to play a major role because the Democrat has vowed not to increase taxes.

A Cuomo spokesman was not available to comment on reductions in education aid or other cutbacks, including the possibility the state will lay off 10,000 to 15,000 workers, shutter some prisons, and slash Medicaid, the state-federal health plan for the poor, by $2.1 billion.

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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