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Rochester School Board discusses reducing teaching positions amid budget cuts

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ROCHESTER, Minn. - Rochester Public Schools may see some drastic changes in its district after the proposal of increasing budget cuts to $14 million for 2023 to 2024 at its school board meeting Tuesday night.

The proposal would remove nearly 77 full-time teaching positions, which would cost a staggering number of educators their jobs.

Due to federal and state funding slowly adjusting during rapid inflation over the last year, cuts are being considered.

Standard education jobs aren't the only ones that would be affected, as there is consideration in reducing the amount of ESPs as well, or education support professionals.

The board states that half of the current deficit is due to increased spending as a result of higher compensation during the last round of teacher's union contracts.

"It does raise a high level of concern," said Dan Kuhlman, president of the Rochester Education Association. "I've been through the 2010 budget cuts where we cut many of millions of dollars and lots of jobs at that time," Kuhlman said.

While accommodating for all of the areas that funding is allocated, it is important to take in consideration what this would mean for these dedicated educators and professionals.

"When you look at our staff, they're all wondering today - is that me? Is it my job? What's going to happen with my position?" said Kuhlman.

The conversation will continue during the next school board meeting on Tuesday, February 7.