500 jobs across Yonkers in jeopardy

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YONKERS -

Hundreds of jobs  in Yonkers may be cut as city lawmakers try to come up with a budget.

Nearly 500 jobs are on the line as the city tries to fill a combined $76 million hole between the school district and city services.

As of right now, every department is on the chopping block with 30 firefighter jobs, and as many as 70 police officers, in danger of being cut. In the schools, 35 teachers, 54 teaching assistants, 50 school aides, and 50 bus monitors are in danger of losing their jobs.

In a packed city council meeting Monday night, city employees spoke out against the cuts. "City council president you said the Yonkers city police department is 10% of the city budget and you're right but we represent 40 percent of the cuts on the municipal side. This budget is garbage, it needs to be sent back," says Yonkers PBA President Keith Olson. "For the past two decades we have endured cut, after cut, after cut and yet we have risen to the challenge. Now after all this accomplishment and in the face of so much, they are looking to cut us again," says PEARLS Hawthorne School Music Director Marc Pekowsky.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers City Council President Mike Khader say it’s not going to be easy closing the budget gap. "It's a balance between raising revenue and giving quality service to our residents," says Khader. "You can't get blood out of a stone. We have to collaborate and think outside the box and come up with solutions. I've said it many times, one layoff is one layoff too many." Khader says he is holding public forums to try and find a better plan for the city.

The budget is now in the hands of the city council, they must come up with a plan by the June 1 deadline. And if the school layoffs are part of the final budget, they will take effect at the end of this school year.

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