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RCSD monitor holds first hearing with community

Emily Hunt
for WXXI News

Rochester residents had their first chance to talk to Shelley Jallow Thursday. She’s the state appointed monitor for the city school district.

Jallow was appointed as part of a deal with the state to bail out the district in April. The district was short more than $30 million and was running low on options. 

Among those who spoke was activist Stevie Vargas from Citizen Action of Rochester. She wants more social workers and counselors in schools.

“We have an amazing restorative practice program that has not been invested in in an equitable way that really supports the emotional support of our students,” said Vargas.

One comment read during the hearing was sent by Nicolle Haynes who requested that the monitor make changes in board of education policies. In particular, ending block voting, or voting on more than one measure at once. She’s concerned that the public and the board may not understand the bills that are passed.

“Whatever current mechanism gives the board president the authority to discuss and vote on board policies by block should be stricken from policy and policy needs to be written to ban such practice.”

Jallow’s role is akin to an extra superintendent. Her work will be guided by the distinguished educator’s reports and the district’s responses to it. The distinguished educator’s report is an analysis of the district’s climate, financial situation, educational outcomes and more. 

Two more hearings are scheduled: one on the district’s academic performance is planned for July 8th and a third is on fiscal issues is planned on July 22.

The public may submit comments or testimony prior to the hearings via e-mail at or via regular mail to State Monitor Public Hearing, 131 West Broad Street, Rochester, NY 14614. You can learn more here.

State Monitor public Hearing on Statutory Regulations Authorization by WXXI News on Scribd

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.