ROCHESTER, NY (WHAM) — When the Rochester City School District Interim Superintendent announced his proposed budget it included a number of cuts district wide.
Since then, it’s a topic that has been on the mind of many parents, students and community members.
On Thursday, the public got one last chance to share their thoughts about the proposed budget and the meeting was unlike other RCSD meetings.
A number of parents and students packed the room and many of them took the chance to speak in front of the district.
Their passion and voices were louder than ever. Many speaks did not hold back in sharing exactly how they felt.
“There’s a lot of things that people fight for and this budget is really tearing at everyone,” said Steven Simmons, a student.
The proposed $925 million budget is slated to cut more than 300 positions district wide.
However, district leaders said retirement incentives would allow them to reduce the number of cuts they ultimately make – including teacher positions.
“I think there will be cuts but, certainly not the kind of cuts we were talking about in the beginning,” said Van White, School Board President.
While district leaders try to cut their losses, those who work on the home school assistants team worry if their jobs will be the one of the line. They work with students who are chronically absent.
“Who is going to go out and do these home visits and who is going to make calls,” said Shannon Henderson, who is an RCSD employee.
Some community advocates with the Children’s Agenda said their concerns revolve mostly around special ed resources as the district looks to cut administrators.
“They are some of the most vulnerable kids in our community and if we don’t do right by them we aren’t doing right by the whole Rochester City School District,” said Eamonn Scanlon, Education Policy Analyst with the Children’s Agenda.
Parents who have special education students in the district also have the same concerns.
“The district has worked very hard to balance the budget and I understand their importance in that feel like they’ve done it on the backs of special ed students,” said Catherine Bauroth,” a parent.
Meanwhile, school leaders said they are still working on adopting a budget that best fits the needs of students.
“A lot of good progress is being made,” said White.
As district leaders work to finalize their budget they are also narrowing down their search for a new superintendent.
They will continue their deliberations about the budget in a meeting next week.
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.