Staff and students were back in the classroom on Monday for the first time since job cuts were made in the Rochester City School District.
Those layoffs include teachers, paraprofessionals, and other staff. The number of teachers that were let go has dropped to 95, according to the Rochester Teacher’s Association president, Adam Urbanski. He said several teachers have retired early or resigned which explains the lower number of layoffs. Urbanski expects this to continue, which could bring more teachers back.
Some teachers were moved to different schools. Urbanski said the number of teachers moved around to different positions is still around 150.
One teacher, Christina Coniglio, said she’s been shifted into three different classrooms through all this.
“I did not want to go into work this morning I wanted to just quit,” said Coniglio.
She was told Sunday night that she’d have to teach a fifth-grade class Monday morning.
“I kind of felt like I was just thrown to the sharks and it was like sink or swim and it was the kids that meant the most to me so I had to be there for them,” she said.
Coniglio has worked at the district for nearly 17 years. She was an intervention coach at School 12 this year and in December she was told she was being moved to teach first grade. She was then moved back to the coaching position. Then, Sunday night’s news.
“The fact that I was disorganized without materials I mean kids can see that so the room gets loud and you can’t be upset because they’re doing that because I’m not prepared. But unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to be prepared so I think that also sets a tone, an unfortunate tone, in the very beginning,” she said.
Coniglio said the kids having to restart with a whole new teacher will also stall the curriculum. But she’s determined to make it work for them.
“I think it’s all building again, that community, that family within the class that comes first. So these kids now they have to trust me their teacher left and they’re like, ‘who’s this lady coming in?’…They were pretty receptive to me in the classroom, we’ll see what tomorrow will bring.”
Some teachers and parents plan to head to Albany next week to lobby the state for additional aid.
—- ROCHESTER FIRST