Schools Chancellor grilled over school layoffs

October 11, 2011 1:24:00 PM PDT
There were some tense moments today between New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the City Council.

Walcott was taken to task for the layoffs of 700 school employees.

City council education committee chair Robert Jackson helped set the tone, for the questioning of Walcott.

It did not take long for council tempers to flare.

"Nowhere in the executive budget did you say you were going to layoff school aides," said Domenic Recchia.

Recchia insisted the city council was never informed, ahead of time, that school aides would be laid off.

"But that was prior to budget adoption and prior to budget adoption, we had to take off the table teachers and that's fine, but at the same time, we still had a budget hole," said Walcott.

Council member Litetia James had sharp criticism over the effects of the layoffs on the workers, most of whom are low paid, minority females.

"I don't take this lightly. I know that in this job I'm going to have to make decisions that are not going to be pleasing the people," adds Walcott.

At p.s. 153 today, the school aides were missed.

"When I'm not here and I'm at work, they're the ones who always take care of our children...who are able to be there for our kids; that's how i feel," said Ruth Torres.