RCSD teacher, student groups rally in Albany for state support

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Groups representing the district and students will head to Albany to rally for support for Rochester City Schools on Tuesday.

The Rochester Teachers Association will be pounding the pavement at the legislature for much needed funding for quality education for students in the Rochester City School District.

“We’re in a critical point that I believe has been building up to this point and it has kind of exploded,” Rochester City School District Board Commissioner Natalie Sheppard said.

“I think a lot of times when we have major issues like this people believe that once the dust settles everybody will go back to business as usual — but I am so happy to be part of this group going to Albany to advocate today because we’re saying once the dust settles we’re still in pain and we’re still in need.”

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In addition to the RTA, another education group made of students and parents called Alliance for Quality Education will be headed to Albany.

“It’s huge this year, more importantly than every before,” RTA Treasurer Aimee Rinere said before getting on the bus Tuesday.

“This unprecedented deficit that we have, not only were our teachers hurt but our students who lost their teachers. It was a very hard Christmas and coming back this year with layoffs, and displacements, new teachers in classrooms, it’s been very, very hard.”

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The president of RTA said if the district doesn’t receive additional funding, there could be additional layoffs, additional disruption of leaning for students.

These groups head to Albany to lobby for money every year, but it’s of vital importance this year as the district faces a multi-million dollar budget deficit.

MORE: How RCSD got here: Timeline of events in district’s budget crisis

“If these teachers come face to face to tell the legislatures what disruptive impact these mid-year layoffs have had, and how this is likely to continue and repeat itself, unless we get additional money, I think that puts a face on it,” President Adam Urbanski said.

“We’re not asking for money that would be on top of what we’re owed. We’re asking that the state make good what it’s supposed to pay to districts like ours. The foundation aid should be about $85 million more than we have received.”

Urbanski said they’ll also be talking to the legislatures as a union — they are fully prepared to support fiscal monitoring of RCSD by Albany as they await the report of the audit.

“Were going to Albany today to make sure our legislatures understand that we absolutely are not going anywhere until we get what we deserve for our district,” Sheppard said.

RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade will also lobby for more funding, although it is unclear when he will be heading to Albany.

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