News & Opinion » News

RCSD superintendent warns of 800 layoffs without state bailout


Rochester Superintendent Terry Dade on Tuesday warned of having to eliminate 800 jobs if the state did not meet a request from the school district for $35 million to close the current budget gap.

He made the dire prediction at a legislative hearing in Albany on the proposed New York state budget for the upcoming year.
Superintendent Terry Dade - FILE PHOTO
  • Superintendent Terry Dade

Dade spoke about the financial deficit facing the district this year and in future years, and the staffing cuts he and the Board of Education made to reduce the shortfall. The district laid off roughly 100 teachers and a few dozen other workers in December.

The district's ask for an cash infusion is known as a "spin-up" request, or an advance on future so-called state Foundation Aid. Dade said that Rochester's Foundation Aid allocation for 2021 is projected to be about $479 million, a figure he described as being 1.5 percent higher than the previous year.

``With a projected deficit of $55 to $60 million for next school year, I need your support," Dade said. "It’s crucial that we adopt a state formula that recognizes the unique needs of our students in the Rochester City School District."

Dade said it would be devastating for the district if the request for $35 million dollars to close the current year budget gap isn’t received.

``Just looking at staffing, over 800 staff members let go because of the timing of this school year which would absolutely devastate the district, ” Dade said.

The National Center for Education Statistics lists the district as having about 5,200 full-time employees. Reducing that number by 800 would be a cut of 15 percent — or just under one in seven employees.

Dade said that without that funding, the district would not be able to make payroll.

He said if the district were to get the $35 million as requested, he would expect significant strings to be attached to that additional aid, such as a monitor for the district.

Assemblyman David Gantt, of Rochester, has said he supports meeting the request on the condition that fiscal and academic monitors selected jointly by Mayor Lovely Warren and the state education commissioner oversee the district.