RCSD teachers rally against proposed layoffs ahead of board meeting vote

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester City School District teachers aren’t happy about proposed layoffs in the district, and that’s why they are gathered in a show of force Thursday.

The rally was held in advance of a board meeting where members will discuss the plan that would cut more than 150 teachers, plus more district employees.

The layoff proposal was put in place to help balance a budget with a $30 million shortfall.

RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade has said he will not wait until next year to find out if the district has again overspent by millions of dollars.

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.

Still, there’s a long way to go to close the budget gap, and teachers remain concerned.

The teacher’s union says that plan calls for a lot layoffs — 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.”

Superintendent Terry Dade said Thursday was his toughest night on the job so far.

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

But the passion in the room didn’t change his mind.

“I really do have an obligation to address our budget deficit,” said Dade.

Thursday’s public event was something board President Van White and others will have to take into consideration when they vote on Dade’s plan December 19. Dade says for those who get letter tomorrow, 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.

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