ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester City School District board voted to move forward late Thursday night to cut teachers and staff within the district. The vote came down to five for it and two against.
It was a passionate night ahead of the vote as 94 people addressed board members.
That plan, due to a potential budget deficit of more than $60 million, called for significant job cuts in the district — including more than 150 teachers, 32 non-teaching employees, 22 paraprofessionals and 12 administrators.
However, just before the board meeting was scheduled to take place, RCSD officials announced that the district allocated enough resources to reduce the layoffs to 109 total positions.
RCSD Chief Communications Officer Carlos Garcia says the district was able to find other saves to help save the jobs. Garcia said the district was working on which positions would be cut and where they would come from.
In advance of Thursday’s board meeting, district teachers, parents, students, and community members are rallying in an effort to save those jobs.
Earlier this week, RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade met with leaders from the Rochester Teachers Association to discuss ways that could lessen or eliminate mid year layoffs.
However, Dade has since said that concessions with the teachers union are “highly unlikely” to come before the board meeting deadline.
Tonight’s protest is not the first. In recent weeks, RCSD students have demonstrated several times to voice their opposition to the staff reduction plan, as have teachers.
Even Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders expressed his support for the RCSD students fighting for their teachers’ jobs.
However, despite the public protests, it appears the board is likely to approve the layoffs. In a statement to News 8, RCSD school board member Cynthia Elliot said last week, in part:
“We have no choice at this point. This is very difficult, but it is a decision that the board has to make.”