WXXI AM News

East High students protest RCSD budget cuts

Dec 9, 2019

Prosper Holmes, a 9th grader at East High School, marched with other students Monday morning who walked out of classes in protest of teacher layoffs across the Rochester City School District.
Credit Max Schulte / WXXI News file photo

East High School students, like senior Madison Smith, walked out of their classes on Monday to protest the district’s plan to layoff more than 150 teachers. The cuts, which total over 200 staffers, come as district leaders grapple with bridging a $64.8 million budget gap. 

“If you see us doing this, if you see how hard we’re fighting for these teachers, and you still don’t care, and you still plan on cutting them, on not changing your decision, It shows that you do not have our best interests in mind,” Smith said.

Senior Suemoddy Handy was also a part of the protest. She said one of her former teachers will be laid off.

“I just think that these people don’t deserve what’s happening to them,” said Handy. “It’s uprooting them. They have to move now. Their children have to leave school, their husbands and their wives have to find another place to work and I don’t think it’s fair at all.”

The Rochester Teachers Association encouraged staff to wear red Monday in support of soon-to-be laid off teachers.

The Rochester Board of Education has not yet approved the layoffs, but it’s expected to happen during the December 19 board meeting.

Keep in mind these cuts will only help the district cut the deficit in half. Dade says he’s hopeful that cost controls, cutting programs and an additional $20 million in state aid will get to their goal.