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Teacher Aides Eliminated

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There were no major surprises or last-minute cuts in city education spending that came with the mayor’s signing of the city’s $43.7 billion budget last week.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council forged a plan that called for the elimination of 864 classroom aides in Queens and the rest of the city, which amounted to a savings of an estimated $4 million to $5 million.

The budget for fiscal year 2004, which officially took effect July 1, also paves the way for an infusion of $16 million in funds that will go directly to teachers at all 1,200 city schools to buy supplemental class supplies. That translates into $200 per teacher.

All elements of the education budget approved by the mayor and City Council had been on the table for months, a spokesman for the city Department of Education said.

Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein are wrapping up the beginning stages of their plan to reform the city’s school system.

Klein, speaking at a hearing March 27 in front of the City Council’s Education Committee, said the plan to impose a new standard curriculum and to hire thousands of new parent coordinators could cost $250 million.

The mayor and Klein are also consolidating the city’s 32 individual school districts into 10 regional instructional zones, managed by ten “super” superintendents.

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