The Rochester Teachers Association is trying to help with the transition after more than 150 of their members were told they’re likely to be laid off.
The RTA hosted a “drop-in” session where teachers could get information about unemployment benefits, health care options and job openings.
Karen Lahr taught in the Rochester City School District for 25 years. Lahr is a part of the 152 teachers that were sent layoff notices as district leaders work to close a $64 million budget gap officials say was caused by underbudgeting expenses.
“I get a pink slip because someone didn’t know how to manage money or something,” Lahr said. “You want me to come clean out my room before I celebrate Christmas with my family.”
If the Board of Education approves, laid-off teachers will not return after the holiday break. Briana Bendlin has been teaching fourth grade for three years. She has learned she will likely lose her job in the next two weeks.
“I had 21 students there today, 17 of them were in audible sobbing tears, a lot of hugs, a lot of reassurance a lot of ‘Why do you have to leave?’” Bendlin said.
Teachers are asking the Board of Education to take a closer look at other places to cut or consider letting the laid-off teachers stay until the end of this school year.
“They need to look elsewhere,” Lahr said. “This was supposed to stay as far away from the kids as it possibly can, this is smack dab in the classroom.”
Superintendent Terry Dade is expected to give an update on staff reductions on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at a finance meeting.
The board will vote on the layoffs on Dec. 19.