Dear Colleagues,

At their next regularly scheduled Business Meeting on ThursdayDecember 5th, the RCSD Board of Education may be voting on the Superintendent’s proposed plan to address the District’s fiscal deficit. This represents an opportunity for teachers to help educate the school board and the public about the devastating impact that the proposed cuts would have on our students. And while teachers know best how these cuts would affect their students, here are some of the points that also could be brought to the attention of the school board and the public:      

Who caused this? Neither students nor their teachers caused the fiscal mess in our District. Therefore, neither students nor their teachers should bear the brunt of the pain.         

Impact on students. The proposed cuts would deprive our students of services, teachers and opportunities.  We should avoid this at all cost – and certainly not begin with such a hurtful strategy.·       

Sparing the bureaucracy. While students would lose168 teachers under the proposed plan, the Central Office bureaucracy would remain virtually intact.  How fair is that – especially to our students and to the quality of their education?

Far away from the classroom?  Our Superintendent committed to the goal of making cuts as far away from our students as possible. Yet, the bulk of the proposed cuts are of the kind that would affect our students the most.       

Disruption in the middle of the school year. To compound the problem, the proposed cuts and layoffs are scheduled to take effect by January 1.  There could not be more disruptive timing for this – especially for our students.      

Reacting vs Responding. All of this is being proposed before we learn what the NYS Comptroller’s audit reveals; before we know exactly how we got to this point; before we consider alternatives to diminishing educational opportunities for our students.  Doing it right away is not better than doing it right.     

There’s got to be a better way. It’s not too late to reconsider and to amend the proposed plan.  It’s not too late to cut further away from our students.  It’s not too late to seek additional State funding.

As teachers, we have a responsibility to stand up and advocate for our students. Tell the Board how, specifically, how the proposed plan would affect your students. Suggest to the school board alternative ways that could avert the harm to your students.  You can sign up to speak at the December 5th Board of Education meeting at any time between now and noon on December 5th, but please call today (262-8525) to sign up to speak. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at RCSD’s Central Office (131 West Board St.).  Even if you do not choose to speak, please come to support those who will.  And urge the parents and families of your students to also speak.  The future of their children, our students, is at stake.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President