March 2011 Issue
February 21, 2011

The human toll layoffs, program cuts projected across NYS

Author: Matt Smith
Source: NYSUT United

Gov. Cuomo's budget would slash $1.5 billion in education aid. How would that affect services, academic programs and jobs across the state? Here's a look at the first wave of devastation on top of last year's job losses, based on media reports and reports from NYSUT local unions and regional offices. It tells you in human terms why we need to stand up together to defend jobs and services.

Higher education

The State University of New York system is facing a 10 percent cut under the proposed budget, totaling roughly $685 million. Meanwhile, the state's community colleges may be forced to raise tuition, putting higher ed out of reach for many New Yorkers. Proposed Medicaid cuts are expected to have a devastating impact on SUNY's teaching hospitals.

Buffalo region

The Buffalo city school system is considering layoffs and closing buildings. The Niagara-Wheatfield district would lose nearly 18 percent of school aid.

Superintendent Carl Militello said if the cut is allowed to stand, the district would "eliminate just about every single program other than what is required."

In Orchard Park, facing a $6 million budget gap, officials are reviewing all non-mandated programs for possible elimination, including kindergarten, gifted and talented programs and electives, as well as increasing class sizes.

The Hamburg school district, expecting a $1.4 million aid cut and $4 million deficit, may cut up to 26 full-time positions. Courses dealing with financial literacy and life skills are being eyed for elimination.

The Cheektowaga Central School District is considering closing one of its two elementary schools — a move that may result in staff cuts.

The Fredonia School District, which is operating under a contingency budget, stands to lose almost 15 percent of its state aid. Superintendent Paul DiFonzo said the district is "running out of ways to decrease spending or generate revenue" and said as many rooms as possible are being rented out in the district's school buildings.

Rochester region

Rochester City School officials are projecting the loss of up to 800 positions, and anticipate a deficit as high as $82 million.

The Gates-Chili Central School District is eyeing increased class sizes, program cuts and layoffs. The district already has closed one school and cut 100 staff.

Nearly 80 teaching jobs may be cut in the Corning-Painted Post school district, where state aid reductions would total $1.5 million. Cuts could include the elimination of all secondary teaching assistants as well as 64 middle-level and high school teachers, and 13 elementary school teachers.

The district also might close an early childhood center.

Syracuse region

The Syracuse City School District, contending with a $47 million budget gap and loss of $14 million in state aid, may eliminate at least 539 jobs.

Even if the district's aid remains flat, 425 jobs may be cut.

The Auburn City School District expects to cut staff, increase class size and raise taxes to make up for a projected loss of $4.3 million.

Albany region

The Albany City School District — which may face a budget gap of more than $10 million — is looking at the loss of 120 positions. Add that to the 200 positions eliminated over the last two years.

North Colonie school district will likely close an elementary school and relocate more than 100 students. The Enlarged City School District of Troy, facing a budget gap of $8.5 million, is considering the closure of two elementary schools.

Broadalbin-Perth school district would lose more than $2 million. "I feel very sad for the kids in the B-P district. With this kind of cut, it's the kids and programs that are going to suffer," said Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson.

Ballston Spa Central School District, facing a $3 million budget gap, expects staff cuts to be unavoidable. At Schalmont, officials are recommending closing two of the district's three elementary schools.

Lower Hudson Valley region

In Warwick, Orange County, the district is projecting up to 70 job cuts along with the shuttering of an elementary school. Port Jervis may eliminate up to 40 positions.

The East Ramapo School District, Rockland County, would cut up to 80 positions to counter a 10 percent loss in state aid. The district has cut 188 positions over the last two years.

The Yonkers school district, which eliminated 416 positions this year, would lose $17.5 million in state aid. The district might eliminate its prekindergarten program, which serves 1,629 children.

The Poughkeepsie school district is looking at cutting 90 positions, eliminating an alternative education program, cutting funding to non-varsity sports and reducing its full-day kindergarten to half-day to deal with an expected $9 million budget gap.

NYC/Long Island

New York City schools would lose $580 million and at least 6,000 teachers — 20 percent of its teaching pool. More than 4,600 would be layoffs; the rest would be made up of positions going unfilled.

Officials in Long Island's Sachem district have informed 450 employees their jobs will be eliminated if the governor's cuts hold. That's 30 percent of the work force. The district stands to lose $16 million.

Thirty-five teachers in Center Moriches schools have been told they could lose their jobs.