Rochester, NY–In response to the proposed cuts to the Rochester City School District, Citizen Action of New York and the Alliance for Quality Education have issued the following statement:

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic of unimaginable proportions. While the world works to adjust and enact drastic measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the public, it is clear that schools everywhere must prepare for the trauma and social/emotional impact this catastrophic event will have on our children.

“Yet the Rochester City School District, which was already in a crisis due to the budget deficit is choosing to cut some of the most needed services in light of the pandemic.

“This proposed budget eliminates 31 social workers, whose value following the pandemic will increase dramatically, and eliminates key positions such as Chief of Special Education and Chief of Student Support Services and Social Emotional Learning. Positions that work directly to improve the lives of our students. At the same time, the budget proposes an $100,000 increase for police in schools.

“Common sense would dictate that social workers and counselors would be invaluable for children and families who have been impacted by the isolation, the virus, and the economic impact on a community that is already one of the poorest in the nation. In addition, without those social workers, the mandate from the state to ensure that Individual Education Plans are being met becomes impossible to maintain. Our district needs to make sure that the plan in the long term does not cause more harm to our students than what they are already experiencing.

“We are calling for the Rochester City School District to reverse its current decision to eliminate 31 social workers and to vote no to any budget that doesn’t prioritize the social and emotional needs of our students.”

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