Colleagues,

The Rochester City School District’s fiscal woes continue. Part of it is due to lower registration of kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students. Another reason is that the District continues to find discrepancies and miscalculations in their existing budget. But the biggest  reason, by far, is the recent decision by the New York State Division of Budget to withhold 20% of scheduled aid to all school districts in New York State because of the state’s own $14.5 billion budget shortfall. The impact on the RCSD would be devastating. For some of our colleagues, the layoff notices have already begun.

The presidents of all four unions representing employees of the RCSD (BENTE, RAP, ASAR and RTA) have already sent a joint letter to Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small and to the RCSD Board of Education urging them to delay any layoffs. The NYS Division of Budget’s action could be affected, or even averted, by the passing of the HEROES Act – the Federal fiscal stimulus bill already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and yet to be acted upon by the U.S. Senate. Rushing to make draconian layoffs and elimination of services to our students would be irresponsible and cruel. We have also asked you to contact school board members <BoardOfEducation@rcsdk12.org> and the superintendent <Lesli.Myers-Small@rcsdk12.org>  to reinforce that position. If you haven’t already, please do so.

In partnership with the Rochester Community Coalition to Save Our Schools (ROC-SOS) and our state and national unions, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), we are intensifying our strong advocacy for additional funding for our district from the State and Federal government. Here’s what you can do to help advocate for the additional funding:

– At the Federal Level. Go to <https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-the-senate-dont-forfeit-our-future> and tell the U.S. Senate to pass the next Federal stimulus bill, the HEROES Act, that was already adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

– At the State Level. Go to <https://mac.nysut.org/action/624?utm_campaign=breakglass&utm_source=emailer_link&utm_medium=emailer&> and tell the NYS Government to pass the revenue bills that would fund the future of our schools and our students.

– At the Local Level. Go to <https://actionnetwork.org/letters/rcsd-school-board-we-dont-hear-you-we-need-to-know-where-you-stand?clear_id=true> and join the Rochester Community Coalition to Save Our Schools in calling on our school board to advocate strongly for the needed resources.

Do this today. Please. Your active involvement can help us avoid a catastrophic fiscal impact on our schools. Thank you, in advance, for joining our common struggle to gain the funding our students need and deserve.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President