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White: RCSD will respond to state on time

Rochester City School District logo
Rochester City School District logo

Time is running out for the Rochester City School District to respond to Distinguished Educator Jamie Aquino’s report.

After years of sagging graduation rates, the report calls for a “total reset” of most parts of the district including finances, management, and educational outcomes.

The response is due Friday.

While Board of Education President Van White previously expressed concern that the district would not be able to respond on time, he said Monday that it will. White said he’s brought in community leaders and experts from across the district to compile a 123-page response. He said the district is still tweaking the report.

White said the yet-to-be-released report features specific action plans, identifies who is responsible for parts of the plan, and lists proposed start dates and end dates for recommended tactics. White said one of the responses calls for guidelines to be drafted for the Board of Education commissioner roles.

Commissioner roles have been under scrutiny by Aquino, former superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams and current board member Liz Hallmark. Hallmark penned an editorial in the Democrat and Chronicle and spoke with WXXI News on the issue on Monday. White agreed that there is some need for clarity in board roles but does not consider the board dysfunctional, as Hallmark said.

‘When we fashion what those guidelines are going to be, they have to be based on the law,” White said. “Not someone’s perception of what the last board members did but what the law requires.”

White said it’s up to the state Department of Education to decide where the district goes from there.

“The commissioner will ultimately be the person who will judge the value of this response but at this particular point, considering the very short time frame, I think the entire staff of the Rochester City School District that worked on the response did a very fine job.”

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.