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Rochester teachers' union chief concerned about budget plan

Nov 14, 2019

Credit James Brown / WXXI

A top union official in the Rochester City School District is not completely on board with a plan released by the district superintendent this week to come up a more realistic budget for the current school year.

Adam Urbanski, longtime head of the Rochester Teachers Association, says he knows that Superintendent Terry Dade is dealing with a challenging situation.

Dade told the school board finance committee Tuesday night that he’s recommending a 5% staff reduction to help make sure the district is not facing a situation again next year where it could be potentially tens of millions of dollars in the red.

That reduction would cut about 168 teaching positions, some of which may be cut through attrition, but there still are expected to be layoffs.

Urbanski says he’s worried about the impact on students and programs, and feels the district should look at other ways of cutting expenses, including focusing on the reduction of expenses at the top ranks of the administration.

“I think this needs to be thought through a little more deeply to its conclusion and I think that they can afford to cut more in the bureaucracy at central office.” Urbanski emphasized that, “neither students nor their teachers caused the problem. Why should they bear the brunt of it, and why should parents have to be told that their children will have larger class sizes…they will go without some electives,” Urbanski said.

But even with his disagreement on the budget cutting plan as it stands now, Urbanski praised Dade for working collaboratively with the unions and he hopes that process can continue.