Mid-Year Cuts in Rochester Schools Pose Devastating Threat to Students

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (December 5, 2019) — Education advocacy organization the Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement in response to a proposed plan to cut 287 positions in Rochester City School District, including 168 teacher and 38 paraprofessional positions, effective Jan 1. 

“The proposed cuts to nearly 300 positions in the Rochester schools will have catastrophic impact on children and their learning opportunities. Mid-year cuts to positions that directly work with students, including classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, special education teachers and restorative justice coordinators, would create chaos in schools and have a devastating impact on our kids’ ability to learn and thrive. Class sizes would soar, leading to less individualized attention in a district where students are in desperate need of academic supports and interventions,” said Jasmine Gripper, Legislative Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “One of the highly successful reforms in the Rochester schools has been efforts to end the school to prison pipeline. The Roc Restorative social workers and coaches and the student help zones have reduced suspensions by 40 percent and improved educational outcomes. There is zero room for cuts in these programs.”

“Neither students nor their teachers caused the fiscal crisis in the district. The Rochester City School District is owed nearly $85 million in Foundation Aid from Governor Cuomo and New York State. The Governor and legislature’s  failure to fully fund the Foundation Aid formula is partly to blame for this high need district falling into fiscal stress. A high poverty community, like Rochester is heavily dependent on state aid to fund schools and when the state budget falls short our most vulnerable children pay the price. 

“The fact is that Rochester is doing what it can to meet its students’ needs with what limited resources the district has, clearly the district doesn’t have enough resources to meet the growing needs of students. 

“The Rochester City School District must keep any cuts out of students’ classrooms. The district should prioritize retaining educators, support staff and restorative justice coordinators and commit to maintaining all staff that work directly with students.”