Adam Urbanski

James Brown / WXXI News

The Rochester Teachers Association has strengthened its stance against students returning to the classrooms in the Rochester City School District. 

Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small plans to bring thousands of students back to buildings in February. A few hundred students with special needs returned to school buildings in early January. 

James Brown / WXXI News

Rochester Teachers Association leader Adam Urbanski is urging the district to pause in-person instruction as part of a hybrid learning plan until teachers are given a “coherent” plan how to do it. 

“Because they’re being asked to perform tasks that are simply not doable,” said Urbanski.

We talk with Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small and Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski about the latest news from the district.

Myers-Small announced Thursday that RCSD students with disabilities who are in specialized programs will have the option of returning to the classroom in-person four days a week, beginning in January.

We discuss the plan, the surveys the district and the RTA sent to teachers, students, and families to help make the decision, and what they expect in the months ahead. Our guests:


Rochester City School District students with disabilities who are in specialized programs will return to school buildings in January, four days a week. The announcement was made in a statement from Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small Thursday.

“We must continue to provide meaningful instruction during this pandemic. While we would love to bring all of our students back into school buildings, this is the smartest decision to ensure the health and safety of students, their families, and our staff,” said Myers-Small. 

James Brown / WXXI News

In recent months, Claire Labrosa, an English as a Second Language teacher in the district has taken on a new role: organizer. 

Labrosa is a member of the steering committee of Rochester Organization of Rank & File Educators, also known as RORE. It's a group of city school teachers, paraprofessionals, and other staffers who say they can’t wait and react to whatever happens next. 


A group of Rochester City School District teachers held an emergency meeting Friday on the state of the district’s funding and the lengths they’re willing to go to get more aid. 

RORE -- or the Rochester Organization of Rank and File Educators -- are calling for a one-day teachers strike on March 6 in hopes that the district’s state foundation aid is fully funded, among other demands. 


Three busloads of people headed from Rochester to Albany on Tuesday to demand an increase in education funding.

Rochester City School student Maya Adams led a chant,“Whose money! Our Money! Our Schools! Our Schools!” from the well of the state Capitol. She’s part of a group including students, teachers, and Rochester residents hoping to prevent further layoffs in the district. The district laid off about 100 teachers mid-year because of an estimated $65 million budget shortfall.

James Brown / WXXI

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.

Max Schulte / WXXI News file photo

More than 150 Rochester public school teachers will be assigned new roles in the new year as a result of the mass staff layoffs approved earlier this month to close a budget gap.

In a statement released on New Year's Eve, the Rochester City School District announced that 154 teachers will be "displaced," meaning they will either be relocated to a new school to fill vacancies or remain in their schools in a new capacity, when schools reopen Jan. 6.

James Brown / WXXI

Teachers across Rochester’s schools wore black on Friday to acknowledge the mid-year layoffs of 109 educators, which the school board approved Thursday in a 5-2 vote. The layoffs are part of a larger plan to bridge a nearly $65 million budget shortfall.