Federal stimulus buffers worst fiscal crisis on record
PATRICIA PULEO KNOWS the difference between bad and worse. The Yonkers (N.Y.) Federation of Teachers president and high school art teacher remembers the situation five years ago, when a budget stalemate cost her district 320 teachers.
"It was warehousing, classes of 58 students, classrooms turned into holding pens," she says. The 2004 budget crisis rendered Yonkers schools "unproductive, non-educational and borderline dangerous."
A few weeks ago, Yonkers was braced for a return to catastrophic conditions. "We were looking at 300 to 400 teachers being laid off ... a deficit of $49 million, and there was no way …