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Rochester school leaders release $1 billion draft budget for 2023-24 school year

The Rochester City School District released a draft budget of just over $1 billion for the 2023-24 school year on Thursday.

The “budget book” shows a nearly $43 million increase in revenue and spending. That accounts for administrators, 45 schools, 22,000 public school students, and 7,000 students enrolled in charter schools.

Chief Financial Officer Shawn Farr said Thursday that the district is in a much healthier financial position than it was a year ago. Though pandemic relief grants are scheduled to end soon, state funding is expected to increase with the upcoming state budget.

In a letter, Superintendent Carmine Peluso said one major focus of proposed spending will be on improving social-emotional outcomes for students.

That means more restorative justice training for student groups and expanding school health clinics. A slight increase in funding for school clubs and organizations is also proposed.

Community support programming would get a roughly $626,000 boost, which includes workforce training and civic engagement activities.

Peluso said in his letter that school safety would also be enhanced through staffing and equipment upgrades, but details are still in review.

District leadership highlighted that student safety and security in school and when getting to and from school is a priority.

In the latest of a series of unrelated incidents, School 23 went into lockdown on Monday when police chased a man and then fatally shot him nearby the school.

The Rochester Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the draft budget at 5:30 p.m. April 12 at 131 W. Broad St.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.