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MORE Member Harry Lirtzman, former high school special education math teacher and former deputy state comptroller, speaks out about the bloated and wasteful DOE budget on Schoolbook.org, in a followup to his piece for MORE on the UFT contract negotiations.

Check it out here: http://www.wnyc.org/story/opinion-cut-waste-coming-table-over-teachers-contract/

by Harris Lirtzman, former deputy New York State comptroller from 2003 to 2007 and also a New York City special education teacher who was fired for blowing the whistle in 2011.

Few people attempt to explore the intricacies of the City’s budget and the operations of the Department of Education.  Fewer people return to tell the story. But any teacher in the City school system who wants to improve student achievement, push back against corporate education reform and be compensated fairly for the impossible working conditions in most City schools must look bravely at inscrutable rows and columns of numbers in the City’s $72.7 billion projected budget.  A lucky teacher can find someone to do the dirty deed for him or her.  I volunteer.

Last fall, soon-to-be ex-mayor Bloomberg issued his “Financial Plan, FY 2013-2017” as required by State law but also as a parting gift for the new mayor, hoping to lock him or her into a set of budget parameters for upcoming labor negotiations that would continue Bloomberg’s war on teachers.  But his plan may have backfired because when it’s closely reviewed, together with other budget reports issued last month by former City Comptroller John Liu and the City’s Independent Budget Office, it looks like there may be room for mayor-elect de Blasio to negotiate a contract with the UFT in good faith.

Surprised?

Despite Bloomberg’s repeated assertions of doom-and-gloom about the City’s financial situation after he leaves, his own plan indicates that there are likely to be more revenues over the next few years for labor contracts than Bloomberg would like to admit:

  • Wall Street profits were $23.9 billion in FY 2013 and are projected to be $13.4 billion in FY 2014 and stocks are at record levels. Continue Reading…