Some parents concerned RPS budget cuts could leave students behind

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(ABC 6 News) – The budget cuts made by Rochester Public School Board for next school year has some parents worried their child might not get the help they need.

The school board’s decision to make these cuts was to address the $23 million budget deficit. On the receiving end of those cuts, teachers.

A unanimous vote from board members Tuesday night on the budget for the upcoming school year. The decision eliminated 140 positions in the district.

“But the good news is that only 10 people lost a position and are no longer employed with district. The rest of those FTEs were either unfilled or we were able to find another position in the district for those individuals,” School Board Chair Cathy Nathan said.

Some parents worry that a loss of staff in the building will hurt students.

“Especially 10 teachers losing their positions. That means there’s going to be larger class sizes. And that just means there’s going to be less focus on individuals that really need that help that aren’t already receiving it to begin with,” Amanda Nelson of Rochester said.

School Board Chair Cathy Nathan says she hopes it won’t have that big of an impact.

“We didn’t want to cut back on programs or services. One of the ways we did have to address it is by increasing the class sizes at the elementary level by one per grade level,” said Nathan.

Nelson’s son will be entering school next year and has family in Rochester Public Schools. She says any increase in class sizes is wrong.

“I mean I already know some teachers in the district right now that already believe their classes are overpopulated,” said Nelson.

Nathan says they already have measures in place to make sure teachers aren’t overwhelmed.

“We do have a class size target. So, when our classes approach the class size target, the principal lets our central administration know and we have way of adding an additional adult to the class,” said Nathan.

The total budget for the district next year is $390 million compared to last year’s spending of $428 million.