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Post-layoff teacher shuffle begins in city school district

James Brown
Signs supporting teachers in the wake of mid-year layoffs cover the front doors and windows at Anna Murray Douglass School #12

With school back in session, Rochester City School District teachers are dealing with the aftermath of mid-year layoffs. 

Teachers union President Adam Urbanski said about 150 teachers needed to switch classrooms Monday because 105 were laid off last month. But Urbanski said that the displaced teachers all face challenges, but the ones who had to move into different buildings are in the tougher situation.

“That takes a lot of effort, and they may need some help,” said Urbanski.

District spokesperson Carlos Garcia said help was given to teachers “on a school-by-school basis.” 

The layoffs are an effort to help bridge the district's estimated $65 million budget shortfall. And unless additional state aid comes in, Urbanski said he’s concerned that these layoffs won’t be the last because of how this academic year's budget was developed. 

This year’s budget was prepared by Everton Sewell, the district’s former chief financial officer who told the Board of Education and City Council that the budget was balanced. He resigned in October after the financial woes came to light.

“They simply rolled over the same protocols and the same projections that got them into trouble last year and perhaps even in years prior to that,” Urbanski said.

The district is making efforts to clean up the budget process. Part of Superintendent Terry Dade’s plan to handle the shortfall includes cost controls, the hiring of a new chief financial officer and urging more realistic spending projections. He’s also asking for $20 million in additional state aid. 

Urbanski said the teachers union and other supporters are headed to Albany next week to push for that money and more foundation aid.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
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