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Federal bill would save jobs of 16,000 New York State teachers

A federal measure that would send $23 billion to help states avoid teacher layoffs would save 16,223 jobs in New York State, according to estimates released by the White House yesterday.

The emergency funds are folded into a larger spending bill that the House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to vote on this afternoon, but the vote was postponed. The measure has had a rocky start after its sponsor, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, couldn’t find enough support in the Senate to introduce it there. Wisconsin Democrat David Obey then announced he would introduce a version of the measure in the House.

If Obey’s measure passes the House — which is not certain — its passage through the Senate becomes far more likely, as senators will be unable to amend it without voting the whole bill down.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been pushing the legislation aggressively, both in Washington and at local stops like the one he made in New York last week. At a City Council hearing on the Department of Education’s budget earlier this week, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said that if the bill is passed, $400 million would fund New York City teaching jobs and help plug the department’s anticipated $750 million budget gap.

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