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By Maya Miller and Latima Stephens
As the budget dance enters its final steps, advocates still have some moves left for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
At least 200 adult literacy advocates congregated at City Hall Park today to protest cuts to at least three education programs. Joined by Comptroller John Liu as well as Council members Gale Brewer, Sara Gonzalez and Matthieu Eugene, those in attendance said they are in it for the long haul.
“It’s a fight every year to get the City Council and the mayor to work together to put funding back in the budget,” said Sierra Stoneman-Bell, co-director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition.
The most recent budget put forth by the Bloomberg administration would cut approximately $7 million from the adult literacy programs. As a result, the cuts would eliminate 7,000 seats saved for helping New Yorkers learn English, which those at the protest said is vital to their and their families' livelihoods.
Mayor Bloomberg announced this weekend that city agencies must cut a total of $2 billion dollars from their budgets this year and the next. That equals slashing a total of 3 percent of the total budget over the next 18 months. He has also warned of possible layoffs. Meanwhile, he gave raises to some of his staff, but contends those aides are taking on more work as a result of staffing cuts.
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