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Thousands of teachers rally at City Hall against budget cuts

Thousands of teachers and members of other municipal unions rallied today to protest planned cuts in Mayor Bloomberg’s city budget for next year. Proposed cuts to the city’s school system were a major focus of the rally, which stretched more than four blocks from City Hall down Broadway to Federal Plaza. The Department of Education is trying to fill a projected $750 million shortfall for next year.

“We are getting very close to a repeat of 1976 in our school system, where they cut it so deep it took 30 years to recover,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.

Teachers from all five boroughs traveled to attend the protest. “I think some cuts are probably necessary, but I think the one’s they’re proposing are too severe,” said Chris Calabrese, who teaches at the Bronx’s C.S. 57. The school has already lost a science teacher and will likely see its after-school programs eliminated as well, she said.

“Cutting a teacher is tantamount to asking the students to fail,” she said.