Dennis M. Walcott started his first full day as the city’s chancellor-appointee walking his grandson into Public School 36 in St. Albans, Queens. Less than two hours later, he was greeted with hugs and congratulations when he appeared at a City Council budget hearing.

By the time the questioning began, though, it was clear that the honeymoon would not last.
“You should be congratulated,” Councilwoman Letitia James said. “But today the reality sets in.”
Mr. Walcott, the deputy mayor appointed Thursday to replace Cathleen P. Black, was forced to defend proposed budget cuts, which are being imposed on virtually every city agency but have been most contentious in the school system because they may lead to widespread layoffs.
At one point, Councilman Robert Jackson, chairman of the education committee, challenged him. “Let’s talk about the 7,500 teachers,” Mr. Jackson said. Mr. Walcott was quick to correct him, saying the number of teaching positions projected to be lost to layoffs or attrition was actually 6,133. It prompted a couple of chuckles from the audience.

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Rebecca White and Karen Zraick contributed reporting.