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Rochester City School District will see additional state aid, but not as much as hoped for

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Dan Lowengard says the budget agreement reached in Albany earlier this week will see Rochester get an additional $5.8 million in state aid. That’s not as much as the $20 million to $40 million Lowengard was hoping for.

But even so, he would like to see a portion of the additional aid be put back into the district’s reserve account, which he says has been depleted over the last several years.

“Some of that, I think, should go into a fund balance, some should go back into things we’ve heard from the public, like community schools, restorative justice, special education," Lowengard said.

Community schools are a type of school that provides wrap-around services such as medical and mental health services and adult education.  Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has been pushing for the school district to add more money toward that effort.

Lowengard agrees community schools are an excellent concept, but he says the district doesn’t have as much funding as they would like to be able to expand those types of programs. 

Lowengard recently released his proposed budget indicating that the district would need to cut 326 positions, with nearly 200 of those jobs involving teachers.

But he says between the additional school aid from the state and teachers who are taking advantage of an early retirement incentive, the district is hoping to be able to avoid teacher layoffs.

The Rochester School Board is expected to vote on the budget in early May and City Council is scheduled to vote on its final approval in June.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.