Layoffs suggested to help close budget gap

Laying off more than 300 employees is among the measures being proposed to close a $40 million deficit in the Rochester City School District’s 2019-20 budget.

On March 19, interim Superintendent Daniel G. Lowengard presented a 19-page summary of the proposed $925 million budget (bit.ly/2CPd99B) to the district’s board of education. The summary included explanations for the district’s structural deficit, which is a budget deficit that persists over a long period of time. According to the budget summary, factors that contribute to the ongoing deficit include revenue from the City of Rochester remaining flat; a decline in student enrollment resulting in a loss of per-student aid; the cost of transportation; and the cost of such specialized services as academic supports for students with special needs or who need bilingual education services.

To help close the deficit, Lowengard proposed the layoff of 326 district employees, including 194 teachers and teaching assistants and 40 coordinating administrators for special education, civil service members and paraprofessionals. Some positions will be reworked and others combined in light of a projected decrease in student enrollment.

During a bilingual education meeting in March, Lowengard said since there is an overall need for bilingual professionals within the RCSD, the district does not intend to eliminate such professionals.

For more information on the budget process, visit bit.ly/2CPd99B.

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