Mayor Issues YouTube Appeal to School Unions: ‘Help Us Save Jobs’

eHezi Archives 18 Comments

Amicone_Phil YONKERS, NY — Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone has issued a direct appeal to the unions representing the city's public school employees via a YouTube message posted to the internet on Monday. The mayor's message is simple: help save jobs and education programs by meeting the city halfway in its solution to the budget crisis that has gripped the school district

Mayor Amicone's YouTube message can be seen here.

The Board of Education last month approved a budget that would layoff more than 700 full- and part-time workers from among the district's three major unions (YFT, CSEA and the School Administrators), more than 420 of them would be teachers. The draconian budget plan also calls for the elimination of education programs including the district's lauded prekindergarten program. 

That budget plan will go into effect unless the city, the school district, and the district's unions are able to come up with another $42 million to plug a budget deficit caused by huge cuts in state and federal aid.

In April, the mayor announced he was pursuing a solution that would close that gap and save nearly all the 700 planned layoffs and most education programs. His solution involves a one-time infusion of as much as $20 million in emergency education funding from the city, which would be accessed by a form of borrowing that requires state and City Council approval. 

The mayor has said he will only pursue this emergency education funding if the school district's unions are willing to provide substantial cost savings in their labor contracts.

"We didn't put the school district in this mess. But the city is willing to help solve the crisis if the unions are willing to meet us halfway. If the City Council and I are going to ask Yonkers taxpayers to help rescue the schools, it is only fair that the school unions help too," the mayor said in the message. 

The mayor said he was not asking the union memberships to give up any money out-of-pocket. Rather, he called for non-salary related concessions, specifically for the teachers union to forego automatic pay increases due to go into effect later this year and to forego the district's payment to the teachers union welfare. Those two measures alone would account for more than $13 million in savings and save hundreds of jobs, the mayor said.

Amicone continued, saying "Forgoing [teachers'] automatic pay raises together with some other non-salary contractual items would save millions of dollars, and go a long way toward solving this problem. I understand this would be a sacrifice. But we are asking you to make this sacrifice in order to save hundreds of your fellow workers', and very likely even your own job."

Mayor Amicone said he was open to other ideas, but the savings from all three unions had to be "significant." 

The city's budget, which includes the budget for the school district, is due to be adopted by the City Council by June 1.

SOURCE: City of Yonkers, Office of the Mayor, David Simpson, Director of Communications

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eHeziMayor Issues YouTube Appeal to School Unions: ‘Help Us Save Jobs’

Comments 18

  1. The YPS doesn’t even bother to submit minutes of the BOE meetings. Every district in Westchester gives you an up to date accounting of what was discussed by parents, trustees and board members. some districts even post all newly hired, retired and promotions. We get nothing for our money. Please give this superintendent his walking papers along with amicone.

  2. How do you come up with the figure of 50,000 voting parents?. I for one am tired of year after year being told you have to give a little more in order to save the schools. I am alo tired of year sfter year the political hacks in the City of Yonkers place the blame on all their shortcomings on everyone else but themselves. Arecent Yonkers budget hearings summed it all up when it was noted that the finance Cmsr was down to approximately 2 people in his office while constituent service re-hired 1 person.

  3. I agree, too much money is spent on each student with pisspoor results. Throwing more money at them is not the answer.

  4. Unfortunately, the YPS in the past few years has shown no progress. They have added 8 SINI schools since 2006 and has the lowest graduation rate in the county…yes, lower than Peekskill and MT Vernon. This year 19 schools failed to make AYP. We pay $20,000 per student. No matter how you look at it throwing money to this school district is a waste of money. Let city hall make the cuts. Amicone has plenty of fat.

  5. Everybody living or working in Yonkers must give a little to mend the Budget Gap and save hundreds of teaching jobs and save the quality education we painstakingly achieved in recent years and are now cannibalizing. Everybody must give something, not just the school staff and the families with children, but also: the Mayor’s staff, the City Hall employees, the DPW and Teamsters, the YPD, the YFD. For 7 years the Mayor has promised to curtail overtime expenses at the YPD and YFD (30 million in 2009 !!) but the reduction has been insignificant. For years the Mayor has said he would support consolidation of services but hardly anything has been done. For years the Mayor has said he cares about education, yet he’s given YPS the same 218 mm in the past three years… despite annual tax increases, despite inflation, and despite a huge influx of additional students from parochial schools. Yes, the YFT and the Principal’s union can stand to give back; their average salary is high compared to NYC. But the Mayor and our City Council MUST request concessions and humility from the other players in the municipal ‘game’ as well. There is too much at stake for 26,000 students (roughly 50,000 voting parents).

  6. This Guy is out of his mind. He’s raising our taxes, borrowing more money, which we’ll have to pay back in the future. It’s another one shot, a favorite tactic of his. It is interesting that he is following another republican scumbag out in Wisconsin and singling out teachers, while ignoring DPW, Fire, Police and City Haul. They should all be made to sacrifice to keep our taxes down. Why pick on 1 group?, when all should suffer, but he get’s more bang for his buck out of picking on the schools, as it affects more people, both student and teachers.
    This speech, which he did not write was more of his usual rant. Boo Hoo, the State does not give Yonkers enough money and he blames them for our financial woes. He accepts no responsibility for his actions and after 8 years has done nothing to resolve this issue. We beg from them all hte time and hand every developer that comes into town freebies on a silver platter. Hey Phil, did you ever wonder why they don’t believe the lie?
    Can’t wait for December 31st, to be rid of Sperncer’s Apprentice.

  7. HELLOOOOOOOO! Are all of you who read and post on this site brain dead? Did you watch the video? Don’t you get it. He’s got you hung up on the teachers’ union thing and playing the poor children card when the real message in the video is this guy wants to BORROW MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO BALANCE HIS UNBALANCED BUDGET AND STICK ALL OF US TAXPAYERS WITH THE BILL!!!
    HEZI… I’m begging. Get this out on your site and blare it in headlines in the Westchester Guardian. He has tricks up his sleeve. Talk to the councilmembers and see if they have the courage to tell you the truth about his schemes. HE’S GOING TO STICK IT TO THE TAXPAYERS ON HIS WAY OUT THE DOOR AND THE ONLY WAY TO STOP HIM IS TO EXPOSE HIS SCHEME AND HOLD ANY COUNCILMEMBER RESPONSIBLE IF THEY GO ALONG WITH IT!

  8. I am a Yonkers tax payer and I find this very offensive. Where is the PTA? The mayor refuses to cut any positions at city hall. There are positions at city hall that can easily be consolidated or eliminated. The teachers gave Yonkers two years of zero increases. I also blame Mr. Spineless Pierorazio. He has ruined our schools giving us a weak position due to Weak leadership resulting in poor performing schools. He should be fighting for our schools and demand the city council support the schools. It’s time to step down Pierorazio. You have been totally ineffective with the budget and our students academic success. The only reason you have had your contracts extended is because you bow to the mayor and turn your back on our children. Our teachers deserve better.

  9. Where is the bang for our bucks???
    Failing schools!!
    54% graduation rate!!!! Outrageous!
    $22,000. per student!!! Also Outrageous!!
    The teachers who are demanding more money need to be held accountable for this travesty.
    Automatic “step” raises should be elimated and “merit” raises for accomplishment should be instituted.

  10. 1. The City and BOE froze our steps illegally without any justification in September 2009. They LOST an arbitrators ruling and still has not paid the back money or bumped us back to our rightful steps. Before any negotiations can commence in good faith, this Mayor and Superintendent MUST pay us what they owe, then we will be willing to talk.
    2. This Mayor has had the boy that cried wolf syndrome for 8 years now. There is always a school funding issue and WE had layoffs and a 2 year pay freeze 5 years ago along with hundreds of layoffs..all when the economy nationwide was growing at an 8% to 10% level.
    3. This Mayor has not trimmed any fat within his corrupt administration, no cars given back, no bullshit jobs cut, NOTHING. Other unions overtime is through the roof and he has not asked anyone else for a “sacrifice”.
    4. The Superintendent MUST give back his 30k a year pay increase and take a pay cut to lead the “sacrifice”. In addition, how bout Amicone LEAD the way and take a 10% cut.
    I would love to hear from Phil and Bernie on my proposals. We will not give into anything until WE get whats owed to us and YOU make sacrifices as well. Since you like to bargain in a public forum I look forward to hearing a response to my proposals on “sacrifice”.

  11. The mayor did properly fund the schools. They spend nearly %20,000. per student each year. Thats more than any private school spends. Yet, the graduation rate is around 54%. Adding more money to a sinking school district or any school district is insane. The school funding issue is not a funding issue, its a SPENDING ISSUE. Cut back on waste, consolidate operations, learn how to spend wisely.

  12. A simple question for the Mayor: Why is he singling out the school system for his “concessions?” Moreover, he did, indeed, put the schools in this “mess” by consistently underfunding the education of Yonkers children for years. The Mayor has never lived up to the City’s responsibility to meet the State and the Federal Governments even “half-way” as he would put it; funds have always had to be dragged from him by huge pressure at the last minute. The surest way to punish the students and parents of Yonkers is to punish their educators, inducing the best to leave as soon as they can. The infusion of money during the years remedying the Desegregation Suit proved that funded education is effective education. The Mayor’s proposal will prove the opposite.

  13. I just listened to his message… IS HE OUT OF HIS MIND???????!!!!!! He wants to BORROW $20-million that the taxpayers will have to pay back PLUS interest to BALANCE HIS UNBALANCED BUDGET. AND, he has the audacity to admit that it is A ONE-SHOT, leaving a BIGGER MESS for next year as he has done every year since he took office. If ANY member of the City Council goes along with this BORROWING/RAPE of the taxpayer they should be DRUMMED OUT OF OFFICE, never mind running for Mayor!!! Across this nation, on every level of government, representatives are making tough decisions and having the COURAGE to make cuts. But NO, not in YONKERS. We have a SPINELESS Mayor and, with even one vote from one councilmember in support, WE HAVE A SPINELESS CITY COUNCIL!!! Shame on all of YOU. AND don’t be hiding behind the GOOD of the kids because that’s BULL and each and every one of you know it. PEOPLE OF YONKERS RISE UP… THIS IS INSANITY! Hezi, what other tricks does he have up his sleeve? There has to be more, PLEASE find out!

  14. Amicone can not be serious. He has trashed the schools and has made this an education issue. He needs to trim city hall and fix the police overtime issues. He has not made an attempt to save money in order to help the schools. This chaos is on him…….the school destroyer along with Pierorazio who doesn’t have the spine to fight for more money for his teachers. Its clear why Pierorazios contract was approved. He won’t defend his appropriate budget request. It’s what the mayor wants and to he’ll with the schools. This film was pathetic.

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