Rochester Public Schools to cut $5 million - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Rochester Public Schools to cut $5 million


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- In a political game of chess Tuesday night, Rochester Public School board members spent over an hour and half heatedly debating one another before finally reaching a decision to cut over $5 million from the district's budget.

At first, the board was trying to vote on a plan that would only cut about $3.5 million for the next fiscal year.That in large part failed because Terry Throndson and Anne Becker wanted to add on an additional $152,000 to be cut for administrative reasons.

 But Breanna Bly called the move a political target to specifically remove Suzanne Griffen-Ziebart as Executive Director of School Accountability.

"I bet you that teachers in our schools would say they can't do their jobs without the support of administrators, they need them there to deal with what happens in the classroom," Bly said.

Some board members also expressed their concern with the lack of long range planning that's going on, stating there needs to be more sweeping changes to the system, not just cuts.

"What we're doing here tonight is a big deal, but the real heavy lifting has to be done once this decision is made," said board member Gary Smith.

The plan voted on was setup in a way to preserve as many jobs as possible, but a lot programs will now have to be reduced and hit especially, staff development.

Teachers will have to give up $1.4 million for staff development, but that can't happen without a union vote.

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