Rochester Board of Education budget would cut 194 teachers at city schools

Local News

The Rochester City School District is planning to cut 194 teachers as part of its budget proposal for the 2019 school year.

The proposal would also cut 26 teaching assistants along with 50 administrators.

A meeting on the budget proposal is being held Tuesday night at the district offices in Rochester.

The cuts come as the city school district’s enrollment has fallen from more than 34,000 students in 2002-03 to a projected 25,273 in 2019-20, as more parents opt to send their children to charter schools. In 2002, 1,718 attended charters while in 2018-19 there were 5,972 charter students with more projected next year.

“So that affects everything from English and social studies to special needs to bilingual, everything gets cut,” said Interim Superintendent Daniel Lowengard.

The change comes as the district works to improve results, with help from a state-appointed consultant.  A recent report signaled major improvements are needed in the area of special education.

“We just have a report on special education services that talked about realigning those services and making sure those schools who have not served well to make sure they get those services,” said Van White, President of the School Board. 

Even though the budget is balanced. the district had to use $8 million from the savings account.

“We can not continue to dig into the cookie jar our savings account and responsible is to balance that,” said White. 

Lowengard said cuts in the district aren’t anything new. He adds revenues could go up and positions may get re-filled before the next school year.

The Rochester Teachers Association proposed early retirement as an alternative for folks who may lose their job. A final voted on that is expected to be held a week from Thursday. The president of RTA adds gym, music, and art was saved at elementary schools because of this plan. 

A public hearing on the budget is expected to be on April 2nd.

For more budget proposal information, you can click here.

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