June 24, 2011
A desperate phone push to save thousands of teacher layoffs has yielded mixed results, depending on who you ask.
On Tuesday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio launched a phone drive to implore New Yorkers to dial 311 – the city’s service line – and file complaints about Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to lay off 4,100 teachers as part of his budget proposal.
Since then, 311 operators have received at most 336 calls about the budget, according to data from the Department of Information of Technology and Telecommunications. That number spiked on Tuesday, with 109, and again today, with 83.
DoITT tracks all 311 calls, which amount to over 50,000 per day. Spokesman Nick Sbordone ran the data for three categories that are relevant to de Blasio’s phone drive: “NYC Budget Proposal”; “School Closures and Budget Cuts” and “Comments for the Mayor.”
Average daily calls specifically about school budget cuts doubled compared to the previous week, but the overall totals still fell below what some had hoped.
“That’s all the phone calls that came into 311?” asked Leonie Haimson, who organized her own efforts via email today. “I would have hoped that there would be thousands of phone calls.”
De Blasio, whose phone drive goal was to reach 2,500 people through his phone drive, was more optimistic about the turnout.
“That so many are flooding the phones in the lead-up to the budget decision shows just how big a priority this is for anyone with children in our public schools,” he said.