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Adam Urbanski

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. 

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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. 

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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. 


James Brown / WXXI

Roughly 13 of the more than 150 teachers who received layoff notices from the Rochester City School District earlier this month have been hired back. 

“Some teachers got layoff notices in the morning and then a recall notice in the afternoon,” said Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association union

He said this happened to fill positions where the district had shortages or requirements like English as a second language or special education. 

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.

Emily Hunt / WXXI

Early this week, Rochester City School District board member Natalie Sheppard sent a plan to City Council and the Board of Education.

The plan’s goal is to make three changes that could re-establish the district’s credibility after its former Chief Financial Officer, Everton Sewell, told the board and city council that the district’s 2018-19 budget was balanced when it was actually $30 million in the red. That budget was approved by both the school board and City Council. 


The Rochester City School District is moving toward adopting a new code of conduct, but plans are mired in controversy. The code is designed to lead to fewer suspensions, less of a police presence in school buildings, and more focus on restorative practices and structural racism.

Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski says the new code will fail without more funding and more staff support. Members of the Community Task Force who co-wrote the report with Urbanski disagree. Our guests discuss the code and the concerns. In studio:

  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association
  • Mary Adams, member of the Community Task Force and the Rochester City School Board
  • Kit Miller, director of the Gandhi Institute

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