Friday, July 31, 2015


Chaz wrote yesterday about the city having ended the fiscal year with a record surplus of close to $6 billion according to Comptroller Scott Stringer.  In May, just two months back, the Independent Budget Office was projecting a city surplus of only $3 billion for the fiscal year that just ended in June.

It is not that surprising when actual receipts come in ahead of forecasts but to almost double the surplus from the projections in just over two months seems a little unusual.

Notice there isn't much talk about this in the press. All we could find in a search was the Daily News piece that Chaz cited. Everyone seems to want to hide the fact that the city has so much money.

We will once again take the opportunity to criticize Michael Mulgrew for claiming that the cupboard was bare when he sold us his austerity style contract  with 10% salary increases over 7 years plus one month for UFT members and also taking the 4% +4% the city owed us from 2009-2011 in delayed payments that will stretch to 2020. Throw health benefits concessions into this contract and worsening conditions for Absent Teacher Reserves and it is truly a lousy deal.  The fact that Mulgrew was not able to make any real working condition gains under these circumstances truly shows how badly the UFT was taken to the cleaners by the city. Whether it was incompetence or a true sell out is up to readers to decide. It's difficult to swallow that Mulgrew and company could legitimately make the case that the city was in bad shape financially.

Instead of continuing to look back, let's try to look ahead.  Why are school budgets not at full funding for this year?  Look at this from the Department of Education budget page for schools:

"The transition from the 2014-2015 school year to the 2015-2016 school year ensures that schools are allocated the same base-lined funds they received in the prior year with adjustments only for changes in the number and needs of students, and for changes to the citywide average salary."

Translation: School budgets are frozen and, as I read this, budgets might even be cut if the average salary goes up because schools will have a higher cost per employee but the finding is the same as last year.

How is this possible when the city is swimming in black ink and the state is supposed to be providing an increase in school aid?

Why are we still operating basically under austerity conditions in the schools?

Where is our union to expose this?  Oh I forgot, they have their seat at the table. We wouldn't want to get Mayor Bill de Blasio or Chancellor Carmen Fariña angry.

Only groups opposed to Mulgrew's Unity Caucus such as ICE and MORE along with some parent organizations and other education advocates are fighting back.  If you have thirty seconds, you might want to sign this petition to lower class sizes.  The city can certainly afford it and has plenty of Absent Teacher Reserves available to staff the classrooms.


Pogue said...

Moral of the story to the other unions...Never let Michael Mulgrew, nor the teachers' union leadership, in its current form, be the first to carry on contract negotiations with the city. He/they have not the fortitude nor the intelligence to fully represent their own rank and file, let alone be a negotiating leader for other unions.

In this case, their poor negotiating tactics had a "trickle down" effect. For, not only did their own teachers get "piss poor" raises, but so did other members of other unions.

Everyday is Christmas with the UFT, because all teachers ever do is give and give and give.

Anonymous said...

You would think the city could at least say thank you.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can look forward to is surviving until 2020 to get every last penny of my retro money. Then I'm running as fast as I can away from the DOE.

Anonymous said...

I was raised in a union household. My mother ran a Port of Authority union. I remember going up to the World Trade Center with her and protesting in one of the board rooms. I felt that unions were aboslulty essential to protecting employees and negotiating contracts...but Michael Mulgrew and the UFT are not that type of union. But our union seems like a complete sham. We support dead beats who work in beautiful offices in Manhattan and do nothing for us. There is no one fighting for us, we are constantly being harassed and abused, and we can't even get a decent contract!

I am of the opinion that the Supreme Court will decide next year to end compulsory union dues and I will immediately end my union dues. I get absolutely nothing from the UFT that's worth paying for! We've lost on every avenue already, from pensions to the evaluation system, we have been absolutely destroyed. I can't wait until the UFT needs to start lowering salaries and laying people off! The good times ended for teachers when Weingarten was running the union and have gotten worse under Mulgrew, finally they are about to end for union staff too.

Anonymous said...

Spot on with Pogues comment. Meathead Mike was played for a chump by a mayor that dosnt strike me as particularly saavy himself. And this gift that he gave us will just keep giving for years to come. What a f***ing dolt.