ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Concern is growing among union leaders from the Rochester City School District, after the district announced a plan to make a 20% cut to the district’s budget because of an anticipated decrease in state funding.

The 20% budget reduction for all departments and schools in RCSD is leaving school staff worried about losing their jobs for good and many teachers concerned about the impact on student education.  

MORE | RCSD to lose over $128 million in state funding

“We have never seen such a dire finical predicament as we see right now. And what that spells really is a catastrophic impact on our students,” said Dr. Adam Urbanski, Teachers Union President.

The Rochester City School District is planning on staffing changes, and a review of current contractual agreements, in anticipation of losing $128 million in state funding.

Contracts with unions like the Board of Education Non-teaching Employees are under review but president Dan DiClemente is worried the district is making cuts to soon.

“I think we should wait for congress to reconvene so we can see if the stimulus package comes through. I don’t think it’s very smart to say to the state we’re going to take care of the problem for you,” said Daniel DiClemente, President BENTE / AFSCME LOCAL 2419.

Other unions like the Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals is already dealing with over 100 layoffs because of state funding and now they’re worried this new announcement could push more educators to look for other work.

“They have the experience they have the commitment to work with our students so many of them are going to go our and try to find a job elsewhere,’ said Angie Rivera, president Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals.

They need more social workers rather than fewer they need more teachers rather than fewer so this would be really devastating to our students,” said Urbanski.

Leaders with the Monroe County School Boards Association sent this statement;

“Cuts to our budgets will only exacerbate the challenges that our member districts had prior to the health crisis and then were intensified during the time instruction went to entirely remote…If school districts have to cut teachers and support staff, it will create more economic hardship but also result in program cuts for kids at a time when they need their schools the most.”

All union leaders say the best way to avoid cuts it to get federal funding, in the meantime, they are planning to push for cuts to be made away from the classroom.

Rochester City officials also responded to the district’s planned budget reductions.

City officials called it “concerning” but are still committed to providing millions in Maintenance-of-Effort funding to RCSD. Mayor Warren is advocating for the federal government to provide direct relief to cities and states to help them overcome the revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic.