Wed May 13, 2009
School Advocates Want Teacher Jobs Restored
By Alex Crichton
Rochester, NY – Education advocates are calling for swift action by the state to prevent the nearly 200 teacher layoffs proposed in the Rochester City School Budget.
Members of the Alliance for Quality Education joined parents, teachers and others in front of school #19, calling for intervention by State Education Commissioner Richard Mills. They say larger class sizes will diminish instruction.
Demond Meeks with AQE says the improved results among city school students in the latest English Language Arts exams is further proof that smaller class sizes work. They want the State's Education Department to demand that City School Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard use federal stimulus money to keep those teachers on the job and keep class sizes low.
Brizard, who had to close a multi-million dollar revenue gap in this year's budget, has said the teacher-to-student ratio will go from nine-to-one to about nine-and-a-half-to-one with the layoffs.
The budget, which the School Board passed by a 4-3 vote, goes before City Council next month.
Board member Tom Brennan, who voted against the plan, says this may be an opportune time for City Council to vote down the school budget.
The groups cited studies which indicate larger class sizes will diminish instruction.
Pavone says Superintendent Brizard is misusing stimulus money, and diminishing instruction for students by cutting teaching jobs.