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Mayor Bloomberg Wants Teacher Seniority Rules Changed

NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is warning that unless teacher seniority rules are changed, the city could have to lay off nearly every teacher hired in the last five years.

Bloomberg said Sunday that the New York State budget is expected to contain deep cuts, especially to schools.

"The scuttlebutt is that the education budget will be cut state-wide, and New York City's share of that will be a billion dollar cut," Bloomberg told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer last week.

Bloomberg said the city may be forced to lay off even more teachers -- and under state law, the layoffs would be governed by seniority. The mayor reiterated his call for changes to the law that protects teacher seniority. Under state law, the most recently hired teachers must be laid off first. Bloomberg wants merit taken into account.

"In the private sector nobody would do last-in, first-out. You do, you know, who are the most productive, and you say to the others, 'look it would have been nice if we could afford it, but the world isn't that way,'" Bloomberg said.

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If the law isn't changed and the mayor has to lay off 15,000 more teachers, it would mean firing every teacher hired in the last five years, many of them teaching in poor and minority communities, at a time when there are 1,200 teachers in the system who received an unsatisfactory rating last year.

Those 15,000 layoffs would also come in addition to the 6,000 layoffs already written into Bloomberg's budget.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the mayor should be working with the union to prevent layoffs.

Bloomberg spoke at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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