Yonkers Schools trying to close $43M deficit

May 17, 2010 3:27:30 PM PDT
The Yonkers School District is trying to close a $43 million budget deficit by asking the state for more money, and by trying to convince every employee to accept a wage freeze. The Yonkers Schools Superintendent says it is the most serious financial crisis in the district's history.

The district is dealing with a $43 million budget hole that right now threatens instructional programs, school services, and 455 jobs.

Parents agreed that there was no easy solution to this problem.

Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio unveiled a four-point plan on Monday that is aimed at minimizing the impact on students in the state's fourth largest school district.

The plan calls for nearly $9 million in reduced expenses, $16.5 million in union givebacks, $2.4 million in restored funding from the city, and $15.6 million in additional state aid.

"We need to understand that if we don't pull together and we don't accept this one-year wage freeze, many, many people in this city will be hurt," Pierorazio said.

Pierorazio spent the last week presenting his plan to state legislators, city officials, and union leaders.

The head of the teachers union told Eyewitness News she wants to see what others do before the union decides on any givebacks.

"You can't start with the little guys, which is the union. You have to start with the state and the city, and if the governor is not sitting down to talk with the legislature, then we have real problems," said Pat Puleo, of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers.