This excerpt is from a Queens Chronicle article called "Budget Bonanza." That title should tell us something.
The retiree health benefits trust fund will gain an additional $100 million, bringing it to $4.2 billion. The general reserve will receive another $200 million and will now be at $1.2 billion. The capital stabilization reserve will continue at $250 million per year over the next four years. De Blasio said the total reserves of $5.65 billion are the highest in city history.
He also said the city since November has identified an additional $3 billion in savings from sources including employee health insurance, a partial hiring freeze and reduced debt service.
Even with all of that extra money in an $85.2 billion budget, the city still couldn't spare around $1/2 billion to pay UFT members back now the money we essentially loaned to the city interest free that we are getting back in dribs and drabs until 2020. Other city workers received that money from 2008-2010 and it has been in their paychecks ever since that time.
Since the Department of Education wants newer teachers so badly, why didn't the UFT ask for these retroactive payments up front for UFT members who leave the system. Perhaps there could be a severance package of $50,000 for everyone and not just the Absent Teacher Reserves to help the city hire those new teachers the DOE wants so badly. In fact, the city is still swimming in money so why didn't the UFT demand the retro for all of us up front and tell the city it has been proven totally wrong that the payments were budget busters?
No, our big increase for next year is in Teacher's Choice as this article praising the city budget on the UFT website explains.
The boost for Teacher’s Choice was part of a wider investment in public education in the $85.2 billion budget.
“With this budget, the City Council protected all sectors of New York City and invested in our children, our communities and our families,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “In these trying political times, it is important for people to know that New York City’s elected officials are standing up for all of us.”
Nothing against Teacher's Choice, but seriously how much of that "wider investment in public education" is going to go to the classroom?
Do you feel the "New York City's elected officials are standing up for all of us" as Mulgrew says?