Rochester teachers to cease non-contract activities during negotiations with RPS; Pekel details current offer

Teachers Speak on RPS-Union Negotiations

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(ABC 6 News) – Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 24, Rochester public school teachers have announced their intention to leave work at the end of the contracted workday.

The decision mirrors a similar stance taken by PEM teachers in November.

RELATED: PEM teachers take stand against school board after claims they are “unsupportive… and motivated by personal agendas” – ABC 6 News –

Leaving work at the end of the contracted workday implies that teachers will not volunteer at sporting events or extracurriculars.

The full release from Rochester Education Association president Vince Wagner is as follows:

“Beginning Wednesday, January 24, 2024, and each successive Wednesday until a contract
settlement is reached, teachers in Rochester Public Schools will leave work as a group at the end
of the contracted workday. This does not mean teachers are walking out, it just means they are
going home on time. This action will serve as a reminder of all the work that teachers do beyond
their contracted hours.
Rochester teachers provide a world class education while supporting students who are struggling
with more mental health issues than ever before. We work hard every day to be the best, often
sacrificing our personal time to prepare innovative lessons, provide additional help for students
that are struggling, and to keep up with grading. We routinely work beyond our contracted hours,
and many of us spend significant amounts of time doing schoolwork in the evenings, on
weekends, and during school breaks. We do this because we are consummate professionals and
want to do the best job for our students that we possibly can.
Many teachers are exhausted, and some struggle to make ends meet financially. I am concerned
about the number of teachers that must take a second job because their teaching salary isn’t
enough to support their family. I am also concerned about the number of teachers who have
indicated they are at or near their breaking point and may need to leave teaching.
Rochester teachers believe that recruitment and retention of high-quality educators is vital to
continuing to provide a world class education in Rochester Public Schools. A competitive salary
schedule will assist our Human Resources professionals greatly in attracting and keeping these
Rochester teachers believe smaller class sizes contribute to a world class education system by
providing more one-on-one attention for students. Students feel safer and more willing to
participate in a meaningful manner when class sizes are smaller. Smaller class sizes make
it easier for teachers to conduct more hands-on lessons. Small classes give students the
opportunity to:

  • Share their thoughts and ideas and get feedback on them from their peers and the class
  • Contribute to the learning experience of their peers.
  • This leads to improved understanding and increased engagement from the whole class.
    Please reach out if you have any further questions.
    Vince Wagner
    President, Rochester Education Association

On Wednesday morning, RPS Superintendent Dr. Kent Pekel sent an email to parents with an update on negotiations.

In that email, Pekel outlines details of the current offer from RPS, saying the current offer would “be the largest increase in total compensation that teachers in Rochester have received from RPS in at least three decades.”

Pekel goes on to detail how teachers with varying experience and years with the district would be impacted by a pay increase.

You can read the superintendent’s full message here.