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RCSD announces job elimination, layoff totals

Charles Molineaux
Updated: December 04, 2019 02:46 PM
Created: December 03, 2019 06:25 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade laid out specific numbers Tuesday in his plan to cut 359 jobs to dig the district out of a $64 million budget shortfall.

In a presentation to the school board’s Audit Committee, Dade revealed plans to save $14.1 million through a 5% reduction in the district’s staff.  

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That reduction included the elimination of:

  • 77 paraprofessional jobs, including 22 layoffs
  • 72 support jobs like clerks or mechanics, including 32 layoffs
  • 195 teaching jobs, including 152 layoffs
  • 15 administrative jobs, including 12 layoffs

Dade predicted notices for who would be laid off would be going out later in the week.

“They are going about this all wrong,” Adam Urbanski, President of the Rochester Teachers Association said.  

Teachers complained about the large numbers of teaching jobs being axed compared to the smaller number of administrative jobs.

Union members also fretted about the effect of drastic changes on students who might end up seeing unfamiliar faces in the classroom right in the middle of the school year.

“Our kids can’t afford that kind of instability and insecurity when it comes to their learning,” longtime teacher and school librarian Amerique Wilson said. “A number of them suffer of that from home and they’re in school knowing that this is a safe place to be. That ‘that person at the door when I come in knows who I am, knows what I need’ and I fear we can’t promise that.”

Wilson, and her daughter Chloe joined fellow RTA members Tuesday making signs for a rally against the layoffs planned for Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the district offices.  

"It's kind of scary,” Chloe Wilson said, worried for both her parents, both of whom were educators. "Like, if they'll have an income… and if they don't, what will we do?"

Urbanski, too, criticized the timing of the cuts in the middle of the school year.

“I don’t know why they’re rushing to do it in a way that would be really hurtful to students,” he said. “Doing it right away is not as good as doing it right. Hold off. Postpone any action until the end of the school year.”

Dade enthusiastically rejected that proposal saying any delay would only give the district more time to sink farther into its financial hole.  

“We will pretty much assure ourselves and the community that we will overspend our existing budget this year,” he insisted. “So that that’s a no go. Waiting until June is a non-negotiable no go.”

Dade’s presentation on the planned layoffs included one conspicuous asterisk.  

While the original plan for the budget called for as many as 18 layoffs, the one he presented Tuesday called for only 12 because the Association of Supervisors and Administrators of Rochester, ASAR, had agreed to forego $450,000 in vacation funding, saving as many as 10 jobs.

“This is something that I would welcome a conversation with every bargaining unit,” Dade said. “Anything you can put on the table to really mitigate some staff reductions, I’m always going to be open to those conversations. The last thing I want to do is walk people out of the door, particularly mid-year.”


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