Five weeks before school and RCSD has 352 teacher vacancies

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Two years ago the Rochester City School District didn’t have enough bus drivers to get every child to school on the first day of school. This year the problem is teachers.

Five weeks from opening day and RCSD has nearly 400 teacher vacancies.

"You know it’s funny but we heard a lot over the past two years about ‘if teachers don’t like it they should just quit.’ And that’s kind of what happened," Kelly LaLonde said.

LaLonde teaches at School 58, a top-choice school in the city.

Brean: "Kelly when school starts in September, do you think there’s going to be enough teachers to have a teacher in front of every student in the city?"

LaLonde: "Oh no and I know that for a fact because we had vacancies from day one (last year) that never got filled."

The teachers’ union says at the start of last year 100 teachers retired and 187 teachers resigned.

"Left not the teaching profession but left our district," RTA President Adam Urbanski said. "And the overwhelming majority of them went to suburban districts."

At the Rochester School Board meeting last week, the school district showed how many vacancies they have including 352 in the classroom.

But on the school’s district website, under the "careers" tab, there are only 37 classroom jobs posted.

Brean: "When I go to the careers section of RCSD and I look at open positions for classroom positions it’s 37."

Adam Urbanski, RTA President: "That strange because on the one hand, they themselves report 385 vacancies."

At Thursday’s school board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Carmine Peluso said they’re trying to close the gap with emergency long-term substitutes and by asking teachers to pick up an extra period.

"The school can fill the gap by having two teachers teach an extra period and receive additional pay," he said.

RCSD says all of the big five school districts — Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Yonkers – in New York are facing this problem.

Urbanski says a lot of the teachers who resigned went to the suburbs.

I contacted those districts today. The ones who got back to me said they don’t offer signing bonuses but one teacher said the suburban schools are matching years of service and salary for RCSD staff.