RCSD, teachers union working to reduce or eliminate mid-year staff cuts

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade met with leaders from the Rochester Teachers Association this week with a plan that could reduce or eliminate proposed mid-year layoffs.

Last week, 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.

The district’s decision to make mid year staffing cuts was met by teacher and student protests.

While a formal vote is scheduled to take place at a school board meeting on December 19 to approve the staff reduction plan, Dade says he’s met with union officials this week to make a course of action that would prevent the mid-year cuts from happening.

Although the clock is ticking, Dade says there’s still a possibility the district will be able to save these jobs. He says he’s confident in some logical plans that were put on the table to reduce the more than 150 layoffs. While details of the negotiations were not explicitly stated at Friday’s press confernce, Dade says the amount laid out in closed-door meetings could significantly reduce the number of layoffs.

Dade says RTA president Adam Urbanski spurred the discussion with the district. Dade says the talks have been good and productive and that everyone involved is doing their best to make this work.

However, Dade said if the mid-year layoffs were prevented, he could not commit to eliminating staff reductions down the line. He said the district’s budgeting would rely on factors presently unknown, like the availability of state aid.

Althought the possibility of cuts have been known for awhile, Dade says the community has been energized this week and that acticity has spurred the productive discussions.

Dade says he remains committed to fixing the budget deficit for this year and going forward.

School Board President Van White says the solution has to include all parties. The teacher’s union and the RCSD talking is critical.

“I couldn’t ask for a better cooperative, collaborative spirit than what’s being evidenced by Terry and the members of the collective bargaining units,” says White.

But he’s not saying how he’s voting next week. “Well, I don’t have any decision yet, because I don’t have all the facts,” White says.

“We never want to see this crisis again” Dade said. “We will be strong after this crisis.”

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