Colleagues,

The newly proposed Rochester City School budget for the 2020-2021 school year targets programs for our most vulnerable students such as Special Education, the Bilingual Academy and the Young Mothers Program. It also calls for significant reductions of teaching positions next year. Out of the total of 236 staff reductions, including teachers, paraprofessionals, non-teaching employees, school administrators and Central Office, 192 are teachers – more than 81% of all cuts. 

All this comes on the heels of the devastating mid-year teacher layoffs just a few short months ago. During an unprecedented time of stress and hardship, the proposed budget would be another severe blow to our students and their teachers. The hardest-hit tenure areas for layoffs are Social Workers (32), Special Education (30), Speech and Hearing (27), ESOL (20), Physical Education (14), Art (14), K-3 Elementary (12), Teachers on Special Assignment (12), Science (11) and Teacher Coordinators of Special Education (10). All other categories of teacher layoffs are either in single digits or spared altogether. The proposed budget also calls for adding 29 Pre-K teachers and 12 Instructional Coaches.

The proposed budget is already predicated on the assumption that we will receive an additional $35 million in State aid. We will, of course, continue to participate in lobbying for increased funding from New York State in order to avert even more cuts of teachers and services for our students. We are also confident that many of the proposed teacher layoffs could be averted through existing vacancies and attrition: retirements and resignations. Approximately 80 teachers have already resigned from the RCSD this year – compared to only 30 all of last year. And more than 40 teachers have already announced their retirement this year while many more teachers are expected to yet do so.

We will soon contact you about what you could do to help with our continuing struggle to spare our students and their teachers. Meanwhile, if you would like to know your seniority ranking in your certification and tenure area, please email RTA’s Martha Keating <maskerade6@aol.com>. If you call the RTA (585 546 2681) to leave a message, we will get back to you as soon as possible. Visit the RTA website <www.rochesterteachers.com> for the latest information and to find contact information to reach any one of us.

We will be in touch again soon. Stay healthy and safe during this perilous time.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President