RCSD teacher who received layoff notice: ‘Putting kids through this midyear will be devastating’

Education
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – The Rochester City School District started sending out layoff letters on Friday. District officials say more than 150 teachers will lose their jobs. It’s part of a new plan to try to tackle a surprise $30 million dollar budget deficit.

John Thompson is a kindergarten teacher at Wilson Foundation Academy. He got a layoff letter on Friday.

“I was literally the last person hired in the district at the elementary level. So I was number 862 out of 862 and I knew my number last week so I was fairly certain that I would be gone, so I’ve had a week to process it and go through it,” Thompson said.

The president of the Rochester Teachers Association, Adam Urbanski, said Friday was a sad day across the board for the RCSD. He said he wishes the district would wait until the end of the year to make these cuts. Thompson agrees the timing of this makes it even harder.

“You couldn’t make a more horrible decision two weeks before Christmas to let everybody know. People were talking about taking Christmas presents back.”

He said stability is important for kids and removing teachers from classrooms halfway through the year is going to set them back.

“I have some kids with some severe trauma, I have students that have lost parents, I’ve had students that are with guardians and their parents are in prison and reentering their lives, so they’re dealing with some pretty serious stuff for five years old. A lot of it is abandonment issues or being left alone so to really have to put those kids through that midyear it’s gonna be devastating,” Thompson said.

As of now, these cuts aren’t a done deal. The Board of Education is set to vote on them on December 19.

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