FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS DURING WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, November 12, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Many of us can remember having a teacher in school who challenged us, enlightened us, and inspired us to do something great with our lives. For me, it was Mr. Lally, my high school history teacher, who really brought the subject to life. Even though I wasn't the world's greatest student, Mr. Lally helped instill a passion for learning and discovery that I've carried with me to this day.
"There's no doubt that our school teachers are among the most important and influential people in the lives of our children. And over the past four years they've played a crucial role in our Administration's historic campaign to rebuild our public school system. That's why I am pleased that last week we reached a tentative agreement with the United Federation of Teachers that rewards them for their continued hard work and brings some much-needed stability and continuity to our school system for the next several years.
"The new deal was reached a full year before the UFT's current contract expires - making it the earliest date before expiration that we've ever reached a new collective bargaining agreement. More than anything, that was a result of the commitment that both sides showed in coming together, sitting down, and negotiating in the best interests of our 1.1 million public school students.
"The new two-year agreement, which runs through October 2009, calls for a 7.1% raise for all 120,000 teachers and paraprofessionals - and increases the minimum salary of new hires to more than $45,000, and the maximum salaries of our most experienced teachers to more than $100,000. The deal also involves a number of reforms including a new peer intervention program that would permit tenured teachers who are struggling to be evaluated by an independent third party.
"As mayor, I'm pleased to have now negotiated three contracts with the UFT, raising starting teacher salaries by 43% during a period when our City has had to overcome both a fiscal crisis and a national recession. That's clear proof of how we're continuing to work hard to put more money into our schools even as the State has failed to fully address its responsibilities identified in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case. In fact, we have increased City funding for our schools by $3.5 billion annually since I came into office.
"Because of our efforts, we're clearly moving in the right direction in our education reforms: The four-year high school graduation rate, while still too low, is now the highest it's been in 20 years. Student test scores in math and English have improved dramatically since 2001. And we've made big strides in closing the achievement gap between Black and Latino students and their white and Asian classmates.
"Our dedicated, hard-working teachers deserve a lot of the credit for these gains. They are going to play just as crucial a role in the years ahead. This new contract will help us recruit and keep the best teachers available. And I have no doubt that there's another American history teacher out there inspiring the young mind of a future mayor of New York.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address