ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Teachers Union President Adam Urbanski says on October 20, the Rochester City School District issued a report listing a possible deficit of $199 million dollars for the 2020-2021 school year.
“That is ridiculous. They do not,” says Urbanski. He says he and other leaders sent the budget projection to fiscal experts at the New York State United Teachers and the BENTE state union.
“And both came back with the same verdict — this is a manufactured crisis. They don’t have that kind of a deficit,” he says.
Urbanski says he asked Superintendent Dr. Lesli-Myers Small and the Chief Financial Officer about this projection Thursday. He says they could not stand by it, or defend it.
Urbanski says the numbers they got back show the RCSD deficit projection at more around $17 million dollars, a far cry from $199 million. He says the RCSD included things that just don’t belong in there, like a $69 million fund reserve.
“They really inflated this, and we can’t figure out why they did that,” he says.
Dan DiClemente with the Board of Education Non-Teaching Employees, feels this projection was used to justify laying off hundreds of their workers, and set the stage for more layoffs.
“Those 200-plus families that are suffering, that are going to go through Thanksgiving and Christmas without knowing how they’re going to pay for their apartment, or their rent, or their heat? It’s very frustrating,” he says.
He says the RCSD actually has extra money from last year.
“From our own analysis, that surplus is anywhere from $55 million to $85 million dollars,” says DiClemente.
DiClemente says since July, in this pandemic budget crisis, the RCSD has hired 26 supervisory jobs, some with salaries as high as $125,763 per year (see photo below).
Urbanski says it’s time to cut from the top, and for the district to have another look at the numbers for the year.
“We think this further undermines the credibility of the school district, and the credibility of the school district is isn’t that great already,” he says.
News 8 did reach out to the Rochester City School District for comment, when they respond, we will update this article.