RCSD board vice president on looming layoffs: ‘We have no choice at this point’

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dozens of teachers in the Rochester City School District could be laid off next week.

It all hinges on an upcoming vote by the board of education.

This is all part of their efforts to close a multi-million dollar budget gap.

School board vice president Cynthia Elliott said she doesn’t have a choice in her vote next week.

“The board has to do what the board has to do and unfortunately that means people losing their jobs,” she said.

MORE INFO: How RCSD got here: Timeline of events in district’s budget crisis

Elliott said these cuts need to be done now.

“We’re not gonna postpone that let me just be clear. I don’t think any commissioner is going to want to postpone these decisions because that’s going to put us in an even more difficult financial decision so that’s off the table as far as I’m concerned.”

According to the teacher’s union, the layoffs include 152 teachers, 32 non-teaching employees, 22 paraprofessionals, and 12 administrators. Rise Community School has the highest cuts, in danger of losing 13 people. John James Audubon is next with 10, East Upper and Lower School with eight, and Mary McLeod Bethune and Wilson Foundation Academy both have seven.

Students, teachers, and parents have suggested asking the state for money in January and holding off on the cuts until June. Elliott said borrowing more state money makes her nervous.

“We haven’t done a good job of managing the money that we’ve already received ensuring that every child in that district has a solid education.”

The board of regents sent a letter to the Board of Education on Tuesday, saying in part, “We respectfully request that each of you work collaboratively with the superintendent to make the difficult decisions necessary to close the over $60 million budget deficit in the city school district; while ensuring that the students of Rochester receive the educational services to which they are entitled.”

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