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RCSD Supt. warns of hundreds of layoffs without state aid help

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Rochester City School Superintendent Terry Dade is warning about the possibility of more than 800 staff cuts if the district’s request for $35 million to close a budget gap for the current school year is not approved.

He made the dire prediction at a legislative hearing held Tuesday on the proposed New York state budget for the upcoming year.

Dade spoke at the hearing in Albany about the financial difficulties facing the city school district during a hearing on elementary and secondary education.

He told state lawmakers it’s no secret the district has been dealing with a massive budget deficit since September.

He outlined the staff cuts taken to reduce that gap, and said that Rochester’s Foundation Aid allocation for 2021 is around $479 million. 

Dade says that’s only  1.5% percent more than last year’s aid.

``With a projected deficit of $55 to $60 million for next school year, I need your support. It’s crucial that we adopt a state formula that recognizes the unique needs of our students in the Rochester City School District,” Dade told the lawmakers.

Dade said it would be devastating for the district if the request for $35 million dollars to close the current year budget gap isn’t received.

``Just looking at staffing, over 800 staff members let go because of the timing of this school year which would absolutely devastate the district, ” Dade said.

Dade said that without that funding, the district would not be able to make payroll.

He said if the district were to get the $35 million as requested, he would expect significant strings to be attached to that additional aid, such as a monitor for the district.

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.