ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Last week Rochester City School District officials and Rochester Teachers Association leaders expressed hope last that they could come to terms to help reduce or eliminate mid-yer staffing cuts.
However, RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade said Tuesday that those concessions are “highly unlikely” with a December 19 school board vote on the staffing reduction plan scheduled to take place.
Statement from Dade:
“I met with the RTA leadership team this afternoon to discuss potential concessions that could significantly reduce the number of mid-year layoffs slated to occur in January.
According to RTA leadership, it is highly unlikely concessions will be made before the Thursday, December 19th Board of Education meeting, due to RTA protocols. The RTA released a survey to its members to obtain feedback regarding the concessions that members are willing to make to reduce the number of mid-year layoffs.
Responses are currently being tabulated. The RTA leadership team will be meeting with their representative assembly members later this afternoon. However, given the time remaining before the Thursday Board of Education vote, it is doubtful that any concessions will be finalized prior to that time.
I am willing to continue discussions as frequently as necessary between now and Thursday.”
Earlier this month, district teachers, paraprofessionals, non-teaching employees, and administrators received notice that they would be losing their jobs as RCSD works to fix a $64.8 million budget shortfall.
“I’m going to move forward with placing my plan before the board of education to vote on,” says Dade.
Dade won’t say what concessions are on the table; over 15 were put on the table by the district, totaling $8 million, exceeding the amount needed of $6.8 million. Dade says that would eliminate the need to fire any teachers, but he doesn’t think anything can be done before the board votes on his budget plan this Thursday.
In a statement, Rochester Teacher’s Association President Adam Urbanski says:
“Its not helpful for the superintendent to comment to the media about ongoing negotiations. We don’t know whether or not concessions will be made or not- we are in the middle of the process. I don’t know why the superintendent is speculating but we will definitely reveal the results of our survey and we will be guided by the collective wisdom of our members.”-Adam Urbanski
The eleventh hour negotiations are taking place amid protest. The latest one just before tonight’s school board meeting. Parents and teachers marched to school district headquarters. They’re objecting to the superintendent’s plan to cut 150-plus teaching jobs.
Dade says he’s still open to whatever might work to help teachers keep their positions.
“If it were up to me, I’d be having emergency meetings and the like if it meant saving teacher’s positions,” says Dade. “Make your voice heard. There are things that can be put on the table now to reduce the number of teachers walking out the door in January,” he adds.