RCSD teachers, employees receive notice of layoffs

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some teachers in the Rochester City School District received notice Friday informing them that they would be losing their jobs.

Rochester Paraprofessionals Union President Angie Rivera says 22 paraprofessionals in the district were told they would be laid off and he says of those positions are among the lowest-paying jobs in all of RCSD.

Additionally, some bilingual teachers were fired, and then rehired.

“What is actually happening with the Bilingual positions is that due to ‘seniority rights’ people may have been displaced by more senior people according to NYS Labor Law,” said RCSD Chief Communications Office Carlos Garcia in an email. “However, due to the ongoing need for certified teachers, especially in the areas of special education and bilingual, those being displaced may be able to be put into other positions depending on their certification. Since their contract is with the RCSD, and not with a specific program or school, they may be moved to another position based on their certification.”

The staffing cuts are part of an effort to help balance the budget that is facing a $30 million shortfall.

Teachers rallied Thursday before a school board meeting in an attempt to prevent the layoffs. The teacher’s union says that plan calls for a lot of job cuts — 152 teachers, 32 non-teaching employees, 22 paraprofessionals and 12 administrators to be exact.

Adam Urbanski, the Rochester Teacher’s Association president, says these cuts will make class sizes larger, eliminate programs, and hurt relationships at the midway point of the school year. Urbanski has been vocal about waiting until the end of the school year to make these cuts, saying it would be a smoother transition.

An RCSD official says staff reductions won’t have a dramatic impact on class sizes.

“Prior to Superintendent Dade’s proposed reductions in staff, the average class size for all K-6 classrooms districtwide is 19.2 students per class,” said Brendan O’Riordan, RCSD Director of Information. “After the staff reductions have been completed, the average class size for all K-6 classrooms districtwide will be 20.25 students per classroom. That is well within the contractual obligations of 25 students for K-3 and 26 students for 4-6.”

RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade said Thursday was his toughest night on the job so far. He echoed those sentiments on social media Friday.

“I care about every single individual in this organization,” Dade said.

Dade said to those who received letters today to know this was a hard decision to make.

“I want to thank everyone for your service to our kids and our families in the Rochester City School District please know that we are going to do everything possible to make sure everyone lands on their feet,” said Dade.

Dade himself was only a few months into the job when this situation first became public. The district’s Chief Financial Officer recently resigned, was replaced by the current Monroe County CFO, and two deputy superintendent positions was consolidated into one.

Dade said that the staffing cuts won’t fix the budget issues, and he has since requested for additional funding from the state to assist the district.

A formal vote will take place December 19 on the staffing reduction plan.

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