Monday was the first day back to school in the Rochester City School District after dozens of teachers were laid off last month to help close the projected $64 million budget deficit.
The exact number of teacher cuts is still up in the air with the district confirming 97, but the Rochester Teachers Association has the number of teachers cut at 95.
Both of the numbers are lower than the 109 teacher positions originally cut by the Board of Education in a December vote.
The past few weeks and days have been very hectic for teachers and students in the district. Spectrum News spoke with a teacher that had a breakdown Sunday evening after finding out about a last-minute change to her new assignment.
“So it's been hard to find out at 5:30 the night before school starts, I'm not going to lie I cried, If I had been given the 2 weeks to setup a classroom and get materials ready and be thinking about how to structure the curriculum, or structure the routine and procedures in the classroom, I would have been fine,” said Christina Coniglio.
Coniglio has dealt with multiple changes to her new assignment since staff cuts were made in December.
The final announcement from her principal came Sunday evening, just a little over 12 hours from classes starting.
Christina Coniglio said "I didn't have any time to prepare for a class of 23 kids come at 7:30 in the morning, so I'm like literally in bed frozen like what am I going to do?"
The teacher of 16 years entered her new classroom Monday to find the supplies and furniture of another teacher that had to be moved.
In addition to that, she had to comfort sad and confused students.
“As soon as they all came in and ate breakfast was to have like a circle time and just try to build a family together, just try to explain what’s going on, that I’m scared, you’re scared and we’re going to work through this together,” said Coniglio.
The Rochester Teachers Association believes the staffing cuts and changes will impact the learning environment.
“I think it’s going to impair learning, it certainly already disrupted learning for students,” said Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association.
Coniglio added that it takes children a longer time to really trust, but there was one thing she wanted them to know.
"I’m going to love you too just as much as your teacher loved you, I promise you, you just have to give me that chance."
In an effort to ease the students' minds, she took them on a field trip to her old classroom to pick up her supplies.
The RTA president believes that more laid-off teachers could be recalled to the district because of early retirements and resignations.