At the same time that the Rochester City School District continues to misrepresent and be dismissive of the hundreds of millions of dollars in additional Federal and State aid they are receiving, they are also holding forums to seek ideas on how to spend that money. The forums for RCSD employees are scheduled for this Wednesday, June 9th, from 2:30pm-3:30pm and 3:45pm-4:45pm. The link to register for speaking at that forum is on the District’s website <www.rcsdk12.org>. Based on what we are hearing from our members, here are some of the priorities that teachers would single out:
– Smaller Class Sizes. The single best investment of additional money would be to lower class sizes for our students. This is particularly important at a time when some students must make up learning loss during the pandemic, reestablish relationships, and receive the individualized attention that they need and deserve. It is hard to understand, therefore, why the State-appointed Monitor Shelly Jallow is still urging the District to “max-out” class sizes for all our students – despite the fact that the District is swimming in additional money.
– Social and Emotional Support For Students. With all the additional funding that the District is receiving, and given all that our students have undergone during the pandemic, the District can afford to hire more School Social Workers, School Psychologists, Guidance Counselors, and other teachers and support staff for our students. There is also the need and the opportunity to lower the caseloads for these specialists so that all students who need such support could actually receive it.
– More Reading Teachers. Research, and common sense, tell us that literacy is at the foundation of all learning. Yet, our District is notorious for ignoring this and for neglecting to hire Reading teachers. Every other school district in Monroe County puts a premium on this critical need. City kids deserve the same opportunities and the same investment. And now the District has the funding to do this.
– Improved Support For Students. From expanding summer school to improving the quality of the food we serve our students, to strengthening at-school and after-school opportunities, to increased access to supplies and technology – these should also be priorities for the District administrators and for the school board.
The above are just a few of the priorities that teachers have. You may have additional recommendations, so please do register to address the Board of Education to reinforce any of these priorities or offer your own suggestions. The District can now afford to fund all this. They can also afford to restore the teachers they layoffs from the last several years and finally settle the collective bargaining agreements with their employees.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President