Governor Andrew Cuomo presented details on next year's state budget in Staten Island Thursday and reiterated that he will not push the repeal of teacher layoffs based on seniority, something that is bound to irk Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Visiting the city for the first time since unveiling the $132.9 billion budget proposal last month, Cuomo spoke at Wagner College in Grymes Hill about the need for smart cuts in health care and education.
However, the mayor says that federal and state cuts to city public schools are forcing the layoffs of 4,600 teachers. Bloomberg wants only layoffs to be determined by teacher performance alone, while the teachers' union currently has the newest teachers fired first.
The mayor has pushed for the repeal of the so-called "Last In, First Off" (LIFO) policy, and the state Senate passed such a measure Wednesday. Yet the state Assembly, which is Democrat-controlled, will not pass the bill.
Cuomo proposed his own plan for teachers layoffs yesterday, which preserves LIFO but would also factor in an evaluation system. He said Thursday that he will be unable to convince fellow Democrats in the state Assembly to take seniority completely out.
"This is very important to the labor movement all across the state and all across this country," said the governor. "This is not an easy matter and you can't do it without a law change. And Albany doesn't have a reputation for being the most expeditious vehicle to come up with new laws. That was like the understatement of the decade, by the way."
Bloomberg disliked the governor's proposal, and said he wants Cuomo to propose a better alternative to LIFO and that LIFO takes the best teachers away from schools.
"I understand where the mayor wants to go. I'm committed to helping him," said Cuomo. "The mayor and I have known each other a long time. I consider him a personal friend. We have a great working relationship. I understand what he needs and I also understand the frustration dealing with the process."
The state budget is due by April 1.