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NYS Board of Regents reminds Rochester School Board of fiscal responsibilities

Members of the New York state Board of Regents have written to the Rochester School Board reminding board members of their fiscal responsibilities in light of the more than $64 million budget gap the district and board are grappling with right now.

One of the regents who sent the letter is Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown, who is also a Rochester attorney.

He said the Board of Regents wants to make sure the school board members are closely monitoring the district’s finances.

“We thought it was necessary to send this letter to remind the board members of their fiscal responsibility and to implore then to work with the superintendent to do what is necessary to close that gap,” Brown said.

Longtime school board member Willa Powell also chairs the school board’s finance committee. She understands why the state officials sent the letter, but also reiterated what has been said previously, that board members only learned of the budget gap at the end of the last school year.

“We can only act on the best information provided to us and if there is an effort to keep something concealed, that’s what we have external auditors for, that’s why we do an annual audit ever year,” Powell said.

The letter from the regents also encourages school board members to make sure they have received fiscal management training, and Powell says that’s a good idea, especially with an influx of some newer members on the board.

120919 Letter to President White and the Rochester School Board by WXXI News on Scribd

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.