Rochester, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District is experiencing a teacher shortage, which is an issue seen nationwide. However, it’s one that is causing concern for some remaining RCSD staff ahead of a new school year.
President of the Rochester Teachers Association Adam Urbanski says RCSD is facing more than 350 vacant teacher positions this year. Urbanski says the shortage is five times worse than in previous years.
“The number of teachers resigning is actually increasing every single day. So, we have a serious, serious problem,” said Urbanski.
Urbanski said nearly half of the vacancies are from teacher resignations.
“Very few are leaving the profession. The overwhelming majority are switching jobs and signing up with surrounding suburban districts where they feel conditions for teaching and learning are more reasonable,” said Urbanski.
Some RCSD teachers say they have seen the effects firsthand, and have had to help fill in the gaps in recent years.
“Last year, any time we had an absence in the building, teachers who were in the building would step up,” said Maureen Doohan, a teacher at School No. 34, “I’m not certified to teach physical education or the other subjects, and I shouldn’t be used as a substitute teacher because the district is short substitutes.”
Jerry Wiepert has taught in the district for more than 20 years and said the existing shortage of staff is the worst he’s seen.
“The students coming in are already at a disadvantage from a year or so of COVID, so we’re trying to bridge that gap. Having less teachers for students to help bridge that gap is going to make it very difficult,” said Wiepert, a teacher at School No. 7.
Meanwhile, Urbanski said RTA has presented proposals to district leaders and says he’s uncertain what will change by fall.
“I’m worried that some of the students coming back in September will not have a teacher in front of them. I don’t know how the district will manage that problem,” said Urbanski.
News 8 has reached out to the district for comment on this story and has not yet heard back.