Bloomberg Presses Cuomo on Teacher Seniority Rule
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg set up his first major confrontation with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday, publicly demanding that he use his coming state budget to reverse a rule that protects long-serving teachers from layoffs, regardless of merit.
In a bluntly worded speech delivered at a politically influential black church, Mr. Bloomberg said current state law could force him to fire every teacher hired by the city over the last five years, 15,000 in all.
The mayor said that if, as widely expected, the governor's office proposes deep cuts to the city's education spending this week, it must give the city flexibility in determining which teachers to lay off. Right now, it must fire new teachers first.
"I say enough with Albany rules," Mr. Bloomberg said at the church, the Christian Cultural Center in Flatlands, Brooklyn. "You just cannot do this. If the governor's budget contains education cuts, it must also contain changes to the law so that we can take merit into account when making these difficult decisions."
Aides to Mr. Cuomo said he opposed scrapping the teacher seniority rules in his budget, to be released on Tuesday, because it was not a fiscal issue. They added that the budget was unlikely to make teacher cuts necessary.