ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Principals of the Rochester City School District showed support Thursday for Superintendent Terry Dade.
Dade announced Wednesday that he was considering a departure from the district amid a budget crisis with an estimated $87 million deficit. Dade said he was at his breaking point after trying to balance the budget for what he called “probably the most difficult district in the country.”
“This has been the most challenging and taxing year of my professional career,” Dade said.
Supporters of Dade say there is still a lot of work to be done and they say Dade is the man for the job. Teachers gathered Thursday outside the RCSD offices in Rochester to demonstrate their support.
“We have faith in Terry Dade and we appreciate everything he has done so far,” said School 54 principal LaShara Evans. “He came in at a bad time, no one would have thought that he would face a massive budget crisis. We need him to stay, there is still a lot of work to do. If anyone can right this district, it’s Terry Dade.”
Dade said the inability to work cohesively with the district’s school board is driving him out the door.
School Board President Van White says the news caught him and other board members off-guard Wednesday. He feels Dade will remain with the RCSD and true to the mission: the children.
“There’s no doubt Terry Dade’s heart is in the right place, and my colleague’s hearts are in the right place. We just got to get on the phone, get reconnected, and to make sure we have as priority one, our children,” White said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team were asked about the RCSD issues during Thursday’s daily coronavirus briefing in Albany. Robert Mujica, New York State Budget Director, says RCSD has been given plenty of flexibility regarding its finances.
“I think the superintendent there had some desire to make reductions, they’re dealing locally with the board on what they need to do,” Mujica said. “We gave them some flexibility and we gave them advanced payments to the tune of close to $30 million in this budget so they could use those tools, but like any other district they’re going to have problems, but they were actually treated and were given more flexibility than any other district in the state.”
The district’s budget cap is an estimated $87 million, and the financial woes were first discovered shortly after Dade started as the RCSD superintendent last summer. In less than a year on the job, Dade has dealt with hundreds of staffing cuts, student protests, and more.