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RCSD budget shortfall: Gov. Cuomo, Teacher’s Union President weigh in


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the $30 million Rochester City School District budget shortfall, Superintendent Terry Dade says cuts and other actions to remedy the situation are coming.

Adam Urbanski, President of the Rochester Teacher’s Association says those cuts won’t include teachers in the short term.

“Oh yeah. Not just this year, I think those are measures they are already working on,” Urbanski said. They’re pretty immediate measures.”

The Teacher’s Association president says eliminating many of the vacant positions could help get the district out of the red. He added that Dade has so far determined to have an immediate hiring freeze within the district. Also, consolidating classes for more efficiency. He says this, and other actions, could happen soon — and he’s watching. 

“The real question is, is it good for students and is it fair for teachers? We will only support those measures that are both,” Urbanski said.

“If you see a problem, don’t point fingers, do something,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the RCSD while he was in town Wednesday to announce a state lawsuit against the IJC.

Cuomo says the Rochester city schools have been in trouble for a long period of time. He’s saying the budget should be modified going forward. 

“Why does the City Council keep approving the same budget plan for the school district?” asked the governor.

Reacting to the school board’s audit meeting last night, State Sen. Rich Funke (R-55) says the board of education is not up to the task of educating the kids.

“ …They spent their time scapegoating their own handpicked CFO who resigned, and denying any responsibility themselves. In their bizarre view, the media should be blamed for covering this story and the state is at fault for not giving them even more money to waste. Willa Powell who heads up the finance committee actually told the press ‘Well, the School Board members can’t be expected to know (about the deficit)’ and later defended their egregious financial management at the meeting saying ‘The spending that took place was demonstrably needed and the state knows it.’

And people wonder why I and others have suggested this board should be suspended? It’s sad that the financial incompetence of the School Board will mean painful cuts to staff that will likely further hurt our children. The State’s highest paid School Board should begin by taking no pay this year. Next it should endorse my legislation to allow a referendum on their suspension and require additional state financial and operational oversight. I believe Superintendent Dade is trying and the best thing the Board can do in the short term is get out of his way.”

-Senator Rich Funke, 55th Senate District

For Urbanski, he’s hoping for an open mind when it comes to any massive shake ups. 

“We’re all in the same boat. If you’re in the same boat, it doesn’t matter which side leaks. The boat goes down,” he said.

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