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RCSD looks at making substantial budget cuts

The Rochester City School District is looking to implement substantial budget cuts to deal with the current financial situation.

Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small outlined the changes during an update she provided to the Board of Education’s Finance Committee on Tuesday evening.

Myers-Small outlined what the district says is a conservative approach to spending and talked about a structural budget deficit projected at $59.3 million during this fiscal year and a budget gap for the 2021-22 school year projected at $74 million.

Late last week, the RCSD received notification that it would potentially face a 20% cut in state funding, totaling $128 million; cuts in food and transportation services funding are projected at over $6 million.

For weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been pushing for more federal aid to states and localities, saying without that aid, there could be 20% cuts in state aid to education, municipalities and hospitals.

On Tuesday, Myers-Small announced the district is taking immediate action including imposing:

-20% budget reductions for all departments and schools (that includes furloughs and a hiring freeze as well as freezing out of town travel)

-Staffing changes

-Implementation of internal controls

-Review of fiscal practices & commitments

-Creating new opportunities for greater fiscal oversight

Myers-Small says that she and her administration are taking all necessary steps, however uncomfortable they may be, to restore the financial stability of the district.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.