WXXI AM News

James Brown

Reporter

Before coming to WXXI News, James spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for Rochester City Newspaper. While at City, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.

James cut his teeth in journalism as an associate producer and weekend assignment editor at WHEC-TV.

A Rochester native and an East High School graduate, James earned a Bachelor of Communications degree from Niagara University where he won awards for his poetry and resurrected the school’s radio station.

Provided

The Veterans Outreach Center is expanding its services with the opening of its Morale Center at its South Avenue headquarters Thursday. 

The nonprofit’s president, Laura Stradley, says they’ve been putting the project together piece by piece for about a year and have recruited certified professionals to offer free haircuts, massages, and even chiropractic care for veterans. They’re also offering laundry services. 


Rochester Board of Education Commissioner Judith Davis said she has not made up her mind about the district’s plan to lay off more than 150 teachers mid-year, but she is concerned that minorities may take the brunt. 

State Education law says layoffs happen in the order of seniority, and she said in recent years, the district has heavily recruited black and Hispanic teachers. 

James Brown / WXXI

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and County Executive-elect Adam Bello were among the speakers at an event Tuesday discussing efforts to grow Rochester’s economy Rochester. The event was part of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation and Rochester Rotary’s Economic Growth Series. 

During the luncheon, Dinolfo was honored for her efforts to grow the economy. She says she’s leaving Bello in a good position. Dinolfo says her administration's collaborative efforts with businesses and schools like Monroe Community College are just beginning to pay off. 

Part of the plan that officials in the Rochester City School District have in mind for balancing the budget has to do with getting additional state aid.

But there are different views on that possibility among a couple of area lawmakers.

District Superintendent Terry Dade and others have talked about the need for additional state aid to help with the unexpected shortfall affecting the school district this year. They’ve talked about lobbying state lawmakers for at least another $20 million in aid.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

East High School students, like senior Madison Smith, walked out of their classes on Monday to protest the district’s plan to layoff more than 150 teachers. The cuts, which total over 200 staffers, come as district leaders grapple with bridging a $64.8 million budget gap. 

“If you see us doing this, if you see how hard we’re fighting for these teachers, and you still don’t care, and you still plan on cutting them, on not changing your decision, It shows that you do not have our best interests in mind,” Smith said.

James Brown / WXXI

Rochester School District Superintendent Terry Dade on Tuesday made public the details of his plan to bridge a nearly $65 million budget gap.

Over the next few days, 218 Rochester City School District paraprofessionals, administrators, and teachers will receive layoff notices. That number is lower than the initial plan, which cut 287 positions. Dade said that number is subject to change. 

He said reductions would start by next month.

Provided / Citizen Action of New York

Parents, students, school officials and community groups in Rochester are asking for the city school district to be fully funded in the next state budget. Organizers from Citizen Action of New York are leading the effort by encouraging personalized letters and holiday cards to state lawmakers.

The state education department said the Rochester City School District is owed $86 million in state funding and Mercedes Phalan from Citizen Action said those funds would help bridge the district’s $65 million budget gap.

James Brown / WXXI

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has signed a controversial measure that would punish people who annoy cops and first responders on the job.

A public hearing on the so-called "annoyance bill" was held Monday. It was the last step before the bill, which the Republican majority in the County Legislature passed last month in a party-line vote, went to Dinolfo’s desk.

James Brown / WXXI

The city of Rochester received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission last week as part of an investigation into the Rochester City School District. 

James Brown / WXXI

Five percent of teachers and staff at the Rochester City School District will be laid off in the coming weeks, but Superintendent Terry Dade said the cuts could have been much deeper.

Dade told reporters Wednesday that his team came up with multiple plans to bridge the estimated $64.8 million budget shortfall. All included some layoffs of teachers and other staff.

Dade called the largest potential cut a “doomsday scenario.” He said that option would have eliminated about 18% of teachers and staff. To avoid that, Dade said he received help from the city’s finance department, which reviewed the district's budget and found $10 million in savings. 

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