The Rochester Central School District's financial crisis has created an opportunity for a neighboring district to address another kind of deficit.
As 152 teachers in the city of Rochester face potential layoffs under Superintendent Terry Dade's plan to bridge a nearly $65 million budget gap, Buffalo Public Schools see a chance to fill dozens of teacher positions left vacant through retirement and leaves of absence.
"Throughout the country, we all experience the same areas of shortage, such as science, math, special ed, bilingual," said Jamie Warren, associate superintendent for human resources at Buffalo Public Schools (BPS). "That is a continual recruitment effort on our part, because we're not finding as many teachers coming out and graduating under those identified shortage areas."
BPS is pre-screening applicants for 50 to 75 openings and Warren is looking to Rochester to fill those positions.
"Having taught and worked in Rochester for 16 years," she said, "I know the commitment of the educators who work there, so it’s exciting to be able to extend an offer to come work in Buffalo."
The district is interested in teachers who can demonstrate that they have either accelerated student achievement or closed achievement gaps. Warren said if applicants with a record of high performance attend an invitation-only recruitment event at the Rochester Teachers Association office at 30 N. Union Street on December 17, they could walk out with a job.
"We'll be set up to extend employment offers on the spot," she said, "so teachers know that they have a position with us."
Warren, who said she commutes daily from Rochester to Buffalo, said the district is waiving residency requirements for certified teachers who are hired.
The job offers, she said, won't be finalized until candidates interview directly with school principals. Teachers will be hired under probationary terms and are eligible for tenure after 4 years of successful service.
The Rochester Board of Education has the final say on whether Dade's proposed job cuts take effect. That vote is scheduled to take place at the board's December 19 meeting.