Late last week, the New York State Division of Budget notified all school districts that the State is now projecting a $14.5 billion budget shortfall and therefore may be reducing state aid to school districts by 20%. The Rochester City School District’s new budget director is already recommending deep cuts to make up the expected budget deficit. If the RCSD’s superintendent and school board approves such a proposal for immediate reductions, the impact on the district’s staff and students would be catastrophic.
The presidents of all four unions representing employees of the RCSD have sent a joint letter today (see attached) to Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small and to the Board of Education urging them to resist such a drastic and premature action. 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 devastating cuts of services to our students would be irresponsible and cruel.
You can help. Please contact school board members <BoardOfEducation@rcsdk12.org> and our superintendent <Lesli.Myers-Small@rcsdk12.org> and reinforce that position. Along with our state and national unions, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), we are continuing and intensifying our strong advocacy for additional funding for our district from the State and Federal levels. We will keep you informed about the progress of our efforts on your behalf and on behalf of all our students.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President