WXXI AM News

Warren, Scott want the state to take financial control of the school district

Sep 29, 2019

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and City Council President Loretta Scott are asking Council to approve legislation that asks the NYS Legislature, the NYS Department of Education or any other “entity designated by the Governor” to immediately establish financial control over the Rochester City School District.

The legislation makes reference to the recently reported shortfall in the school district budget of around $30 million, and refers to “chronic mismanagement and overspending “ at the district. The proposal from Warren and Scott, notes that Moody’s recently indicated that the city’s debt rating was under review because of the school district budget gap.

The City of Rochester provides just over $119 million a year to the district. Warren and Scott say that the school district’s budget problems could lead to negative consequences for city taxpayers.

Warren has pushed for an advisory referendum to be placed on the November ballot that would have asked city residents if they want New York state to look at a possible temporary takeover of the school district. But that referendum attempt was blocked in state court.

Rochester City Council will have a special meeting, Monday at 2:00 p.m. at City Council chambers to consider the legislation that would ask the state to take financial control of the school district.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the NYS Education Department, Emily DeSantis released this statement:

"Chancellor Rosa, Vice Chancellor Brown, Regent Norwood and Interim Commissioner Beth Berlin met with Superintendent Dade today and he has a clear grasp of the realities of this situation.  The Board must now work with Superintendent Dade to make the decisions to correct the course and put the district on secure financial footing.  Department staff will continue to monitor the District and its actions closely as it works to address this situation."