WXXI AM News

Gantt, Dade agree on fiscal monitor for RCSD

Feb 7, 2020

Rochester City School Superintendent Terry Dade
Credit James Brown / WXXI News

Assemblyman David Gantt says he’ll push hard for $35 million in spin-up aid for the district immediately. Spin-up aid is money borrowed from the state. 

If Gantt gets his way, the money will come with strings. He wants fiscal and academic monitors for the district chosen by the state education department and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. He also says that the monitors should have the ability to veto decisions made by Dade and the Board of Education. 

“I think that’s the whole purpose of it. Other than that, we’ll be right back in this position next year,” said Gantt.

Gantt won't be in office then. He announced Friday that he'll retire at the end of his term.

Dade says he expected conditions to be attached to the money.

"I absolutely welcome someone from the outside to help me articulate some of the tough decisions that need to be made because unfortunately, a lot of the decisions that I’m pushing for right now are not popular decisions," Dade says.

While Dade is open to a financial monitor, he says an academic one isn’t needed because that’s his expertise, but he’s open to ideas. 

Any monitor would have to be approved by state lawmakers. Governor Andrew Cuomo included a monitor as a priority in his budget presentation.

Dade also provided details on his plan to consolidate some of the universal pre-kindergarten programs. He says it could save about $4 million.

Currently, the district partners with more than 30 day care centers and community-based organizations to operate pre-K programs. Those agencies serve about 60% of the district’s pre-K students. 

Dade’s plan would absorb some of those programs into three larger district buildings. Dade said they’ll evaluate these programs and decide who stays and who goes.

“Even if we weren’t in a budget crisis, I’d be looking at quality. I only want to enter into relationships with organizations that are of the highest quality,” Dade says.

Dade says the programs will be evaluated based on academics, wrap-around care, and evaluations. In the end, Dade is hoping that the district houses about 60% of those students. 

Below is a fact sheet provided by the district on its Pre-K plan:

PreK FAQ Final 2.2020 by WXXI News on Scribd