Judge saves 500 school aides from being fired, but only temporarily


BY Rachel Monahan



Saturday, October 17th 2009, 4:00 AM


More than 500 low-paid school aides slated to be laid off Friday can report to work Monday, after a judge denied the city's request to toss a reprieve won by the union.


Appellate Judge John Sweeney Jr. denied the city's appeal Friday.


"I'm so excited about it; it brought tears to my eyes," said school aide Stacy Stewart, 28, of Brooklyn. "I'm in a very tight spot," added the single mom from East Flatbush, who is also working on a bachelor's degree.


School aides make an average of $20,000 per year, according to the city Department of Education. The estimated savings from the layoffs is about $13.3 million - or a 0.06% cut to the DOE's $21 billion budget.


"I'm very glad that the judge has put the breaks on the [DOE's] attempt to throw people in the street as of today," District Council 37 Local 372 president Veronica Montgomery-Costa said. "These workers ...perform such a vital service."


Manhattan State Supreme Court judge Carol Edimeau ruled Thursday to temporarily block the layoffs. A panel of appellate court judges will review the decision next week.


"We look forward to having our case reviewed," said city Law Department spokeswoman Connie Pankratz.


"All I can do is hope and pray," said aide Jawara Johnson, 26, of East New York, Brooklyn, who has a mortgage and his sick mom to support. "I cried the day I got the [layoff] letter. ...I want to keep my job forever."