Rochester Teachers Union president: ‘I don’t know how the district will survive this’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School Board has officially passed an amended version of outgoing superintendent Terry Dade’s 2020-21 budget. The district is still trying to close an $87 million budget gap.

The passed budget will cut 198 teachers in addition to the 108 laid off last December. Rochester Teachers Association president Adam Urbanski said he doesn’t see how the district is going to survive this.

The budget also closes down five schools and cuts some funding for programs like the Bilingual Academy, Young Mothers program, and East High’s partnership with the University of Rochester.

“I don’t know how we will be dealing with the social and emotional trauma that the children will have when they return in September,” said Urbanski.

All but one board member voted ‘yes’ to the budget last night. Board president Van White was one of those ‘yes’ votes.

“We feel somewhat relieved that we were able to pass the budget, but we understand that there will be many families and many classrooms in the wake of this budget that won’t feel that relief,” said White.

Outgoing superintendent Terry Dade said he hopes most of the teacher cuts will be absorbed by teachers retiring or resigning. Urbanski said he thinks only half the cuts will be covered by this. He has concerns about the future of the district.

“We’re going to find ourselves hard pressed to find good teacher candidates to choose the Rochester City School District.”

White said the board has learned a lot throughout this process. The biggest take away- communication is key.

“I think you see a board that is more disciplined, more respectful, certainly more efficient and effective in getting the people’s work done,” White said.

City council still has to approve the 2020-21 budget. They’re set to vote on it in June.

White said the board’s next task is to find a superintendent. On Thursday, Assemblyman Harry Bronson released a statement saying they’ve chosen Lesli Myers-Small, former Brockport superintendent. The board hasn’t confirmed that news.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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