RCS Reduces Staffing – Classroom Sizes Remain Within Contractual Limits

The Rochester Community School District announced today via press release that it will ensure a balanced budget by reducing staffing levels to more closely align numbers with actual enrollment. No student programs will be affected, and classroom sizes will remain below the maximum contractual limits.

“Right sizing and efficiency are critical to maintaining a sustainable business model,” said Rochester Community Schools Superintendent Robert Shaner. “By adjusting our expenditures to match our revenues, we are securing the future for Rochester Community Schools and being good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollar.”

Shaner expressed his empathy for the employees affected by the reduction in staffing levels: “Our employees are like an extended family, so this decision is truly distressing for all of us. We are doing everything we can to provide support to those who are personally affected by the decision.”

He also said the school district is continuing to monitor enrollment daily and will make the necessary adjustments to staffing if numbers increase. The criterion used to determine reductions was based on board policy and collective bargaining agreements.

“Staffing numbers are fluid and the district continues to make adjustments and refine the numbers based on a variety of factors,” said the Chief of Human Resources Beth Davis. “Affected positions include instructional staff, ancillary staff, counselors, clerical, secretarial, paraeducators, and administration.”

Davis also explained that putting a number on the amount of staff affected by the decision is complicated. “One FTE (full-time equivalent) employee does not necessarily correlate to one position,” said Davis. “We have to consider part-time positions and those that include job-sharing.”

The reduction in staff will have minimal impact on the student-to-teacher ratio.

“With staffing reductions, we anticipate the average elementary classroom size to increase by a little more than one student per class,” said the Executive Director for Elementary Education Michael Behrmann. “The average class size per grade level will still remain well below our contractual maximum limits.

Class size limits were negotiated between the Rochester Education Association and the Board of Education. “In a thorough study of all of Oakland County School Districts, the Rochester Community School District’s contractual class size limits align with our counterparts across the county,” said Behrmann.

“Effectiveness of instruction, a solid curriculum with rigorous standards, and high-quality professional development for teachers directly correlates to student achievement,” said Behrmann. “Rochester Community Schools will never compromise these areas.”

A balanced budget will be presented by the district to the Board of Education by June 30, 2015.

“The planning that is reflected in our budget is grounded on sound instructional practices and is student centered. High-quality education always remains our top priority,” said Shaner. “We must also be able to develop new, relevant educational programs if we are to retain and attract new families. We cannot achieve our goal if we are not fiscally stable.”

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