Opposition to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's education budget cuts got some celebrity support Monday. NY1's Michael Meenan filed the following report.

An actress whose New-York-centric movie is number one at the box office took on the number-one players in the city schools over budget cuts Monday night.

"Our captain, Mayor Bloomberg, and our first mate, [Schools Chancellor] Joel Klein, have jumped ship and they have left 1.1-million schoolchildren on deck, fighting over an insufficient number of life preservers," said actress Cynthia Nixon.

Klein wants to cut 1.4 percent from all schools to close a $400-million budget gap for next year.
But he says some schools, including the city's best, face much higher cuts. Klein wants to use state school money earmarked for struggling schools make up the difference.

The governor has nixed that plan -- prompting Klein to warn that some schools will get a surplus next year, while others, like the elite Stuyvesant High School, will get more than a 5-percent cut.

That news has principals speaking out.

"I do not know how I can look at the student body of Stuyvesant, who work so hard, do so many things, and now tell them for all their good work, their reward is, I'm going to give you less," said Stuyvesant Principal Stanley Teitel.

The teachers and principals unions blasted what they called a divide-and-conquer strategy by the mayor:

"The powers that be thought they'd pit one school and school community against another school and school community," said Ernest Logan, president of the principals' union. "Well we didn't fall for it."

"We are one city dedicated to the needs of God's children," added United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Off the podium, Nixon -- who has two children in the public schools -- did have some praise for Bloomberg for taking on school reform.

"I just want to say to him, we need money," she said. "You can't make improvements out of thin air."

The mayor would not take questions on the subject at a kickoff event celebrating arts education -- which some say is, itself, under-funded.

The big question though is Michael Bloomberg listening? Especially with the drumbeat to restore school money likely to grow louder as the city approaches its June 30th budget deadline.

- Michael Meenan