Rochester, N.Y. - On Monday, President Obama sent his $447 billion jobs bill to Congress and urged them to pass it quickly.
Meanwhile, on Monday evening, Vice President Joe Biden held a telephone conference with teachers’ union leaders from across New York State about the bill.
Biden told leaders that the bill could create or retain 290,000 teaching positions across the United States if it were passed. He asked for union support and encouraged teachers to write to their legislators, asking them to pass the jobs plan.
Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association, says he doesn't always support Obama's education policies, but he does support Obama's latest bill.
"If Congress were to approve the president's proposal for the jobs bill, we could actually have $56 million more [in the district]," Urbanski said.
The money could be used to help rehire some of the teachers who were laid off in June.
Initially, 420 teaching positions were eliminated. Eventually 230 teachers were hired back. Now, 190 teachers have taken jobs outside the Rochester City School District or are still waiting and hoping they will be hired back.
"Many are waiting by their phones for a call to come back," Urbanski said. "These are teachers who love city kids, who are fully certified and qualified to teach. They just can't afford them.
Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says the jobs bill comes at a critical time.
"This year we also have a big challenge. For the first time in New York State, all our general education students, in order to graduate, have to have a Regents' diploma," he said.
With the graduation standards higher than they were in years past, the district says it needs all the help it can get.
"That put us at significant pressure in the system to meet the needs of our students," Vargas said. "We need to improve our graduation rate and having the support available to our students, we would be able to make that happen. I could bring back teachers to provide support to students that might need extra help in order for them to achieve the testing requirements."
Both Vargas and Urbanski say that when it comes to this bill, time is of the essence. Vargas says Congress will need to act soon.
"What I don't want to happen is that it would be too late before the money arrives and that would present some problems, because they won't be able to help our students," he said.
Urbanski is more specific with the timetable.
"In my opinion, a month from now is too late," Urbanski said. "If anything can be done, it should be done in September and certainly no later than the first week in October. Unless we do something relatively fast, the school year has already started and then we would be doing damage control, so to do this right, we do it almost immediately."
Urbanski says as much as he supports the new jobs bill, he sees it as a temporary solution.
"As rough as the economy is, our only hope of getting out of this economic mess is to educate ourselves out of it, otherwise we won't have a permanent solution. We'll have a patchwork dealing with the immediate crisis and it will rear it's ugly head every year," he said.
Biden told Urbanski that the cost of creating or saving the teaching jobs would be $30 billion and it could be paid for by closing one tax loophole for the wealthy.
Republican leaders say this would only be increasing taxes for companies who create jobs. From the onset, Republicans have said that they doubt this bill would pass entirely intact.